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Lotte Group to invest $258 mn in Doosan Solus to boost footing in EV market

Sep 23, 2020 (Gmt+09:00)

Lotte Group will commit 300 billion won ($257.5 million) to Doosan Solus Co., a battery copper foil and OLED materials maker acquired by SkyLake Investment Co. to increase its investment in the electric vehicle (EV) core material business, according to the company’s regulatory filing on Sept. 23.

Earlier this month, Doosan Group agreed to unload a 53% stake in Solus valued at around 698.6 billion won ($600 million) to SkyLake Investment. During the sale process, a number of private equity firms and South Korean companies, including Lotte Chemical Corporation, showed interest but dropped out citing the high price.

It is unusual for Lotte Group to come in as a limited partner instead of co-investing with SkyLake, but market watchers say that the move may reflect the group’s intent to be the priority bidder when the asset is put up for sale, especially as Lotte Group has been eyeing the EV battery market for some time.

This investment may serve as a stepping stone for Lotte Group in its quest to become a global EV parts maker. The company was seen to be passive in its preparations for future mobility materials compared to the Korean EV battery trio -- LG Chem Ltd., SK Innovation Co., and Samsung SDI Co. -- which performed well in the global EV battery market this year.

Unlike the local EV trio with their battery operations, SkyLake plans to nurture Solus as a leading provider of core materials, in line with Lotte Group’s strategy to foray into the EV battery materials business. The group's affiliate Lotte Aluminum Co. has invested about 110 billion won to construct a production plant in Hungary for aluminum anode foil used in secondary EV batteries.

Also, it helped that Lotte Group is keen on bolstering its OLED display and bio operations as its affiliate Lotte Fine Chemical Co.’s electronic materials division is expected to create synergy with Solus’ OLED display business, which has the largest OLED market share in Korea.

SkyLake is expected to commit at least 300 billion won into the battery copper foil operation post-acquisition to fund its expansion. The firm plans to carry out a paid-in capital increase worth 450 billion and use the proceeds to increase Solus' Hungary-based facilities.

Solus’ Hungary plant produces an annual 10,000 tons  of battery copper foil, and the company plans to increase this to 25,000 tons by 2022 and 50,000 tons by 2025.

Write to Jun Ho Cha and Chae-Yeon Kim at chacha@hankyung.com



 

Danbee Lee edited this article

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