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SK Innovation CEO puts focus on batteries

Jan 08,2019
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Kim Jun
SK Innovation CEO Kim Jun is pushing to bolster the company’s battery and materials business this year.

On Friday, Kim signed a memorandum of understanding with the U.S. state of Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal and Governor-elect Brian Kemp on the Korean company’s plan to build a 9.8-gigawatt-hour capacity battery plant in Commerce, Georgia. He also opened up a press briefing to meet with local media agencies at the signing ceremony.

On the previous day, Kim visited Commerce to check on the site where the new factory will be built and met with Commerce Mayor Clark Hill to discuss the construction schedule as well as the factory’s hiring plans.

Construction of the factory begins this year with plans to start the mass production of batteries there from 2022. According to the Korean battery maker, Georgia offers a favorable business environment and is close to the U.S. production base of major global automakers such as Volkswagen, BMW, Volvo and Hyundai Motor.

Kim’s next scheduled visit is to the world’s largest electronics exhibition, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) that kicks off today in Las Vegas. The Korean company said Kim will be present at the exhibition for the full four days of the event to meet with global consumers and partners.

It is the first time SK Innovation has participated in CES. The company, originally known as an oil refiner, is hoping to reposition itself as a company specializing in batteries and electronic materials such as lithium-ion battery separator, a crucial material used for lithium-ion batteries, and flexible cover window, a film used for flexible displays.

Earlier this year, Kim headed off to visit battery plants located in Seosan, South Chungcheong and Jeungpyeong County in North Chungcheong, unlike previous CEOs who would first visit local oil refining or petrochemical businesses.

In his New Year’s message, Kim said he hopes to make SK Innovation a global player banking on its battery and materials businesses as future cash cows.


BY KIM JEE-HEE [kim.jeehee@joongang.co.kr]