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Battery spin-off

NPS dumps $265 mn LG Chem shares after spin-off announcement

Nov 05, 2020 (Gmt+09:00)

The National Pension Service, the No. 2 shareholder in South Korea's LG Chem Ltd., has sold off around 300 billion won ($265 million) worth of shares in the world's largest EV battery maker since the company announced plans to spin off its battery business into a standalone entity on Sept. 16.

The NPS, which made public its opposition to the spin-off plan in late October, has dumped over 510,000 shares in LG Chem over the past one and a half months. Its shareholding in the company declined from 10.51% in August to 9.85%, according to a regulatory filing on Nov. 5. The pension fund remains LG Chem's second-largest shareholder.

At the end of last year, the NPS held around a 9.96% stake in LG Chem but the pension fund had steadily increased its shareholdings this year prior to the spin-off announcement.

The pension fund's public opposition against the electric vehicle battery maker's split plan was likely the trigger behind its massive unloading as it said that "the move would undermine NPS' shareholder value, including the possibility of diluting equity value," after an external advisory meeting on Oct. 27.

Its opposition came after the world’s two biggest proxy advisers, Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) and Glass Lewis, expressed their support for the hive-off.

The pension fund went ahead to sell off 55,000 shares on Oct. 30 alone when LG Chem held a shareholder meeting during which 82.3% of the votes were in favor of the carve-out
LG Chem's extraordinary general meeting on Oct. 30
LG Chem's extraordinary general meeting on Oct. 30

LG Chem’s share price, which hovered around 700,000 won on Sept. 15, plummeted to 611,000 won on Sept. 18 after the company announced the split plan. It was the biggest percentage drop in four months.

In afternoon trade on Nov. 5, LG Chem’s share price has rebounded to 675,000 won apiece.

LG Chem's spin-off is set to launch on Dec. 1 as a wholly-owned subsidiary. The new company, tentatively named LG Energy Solutions, may list up to 30% of its shares on the Seoul bourse in late 2021 or early 2022, and possibly also in overseas markets.

The domestic EV battery maker hopes to secure funding for its battery expansion as it needs at least 3 trillion won a year for EV battery-related facility investment.

LG Chem supplies batteries to major global EV makers, including Tesla, GM and Volkswagen, as well as local automakers Hyundai Motor Co. and Kia Motors Corp.

Write to Jung-hwan Hwang at jung@hankyung.com

Danbee Lee edited this article.

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