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SKC in talks to sell stake in PET film-making China unit

Jan 07, 2021 (Gmt+09:00)

SKC Ltd. of South Korea’s SK Group is in negotiations to sell a stake in its polyester (PET) film unit in China, which it values at 150 billion-200 billion won ($140 million-$184 million).

The planned sale of a portion of SKC’s 80% stake in SKC Jiangsu will likely be in the form of both existing and new shares, according to sources with direct knowledge of the matter on Jan. 7.

“SKC has been seeking a buyer of the Chinese operations over the past two years, but failed to narrow the price gap,” one of the sources told the Market Insight, the capital news market outlet of The Korea Economic Daily. “Now that the industry is improving, negotiations have made progress.”

SKC plans to wrap up the potential sale by the end of the current quarter at the earliest.

The planned sale comes after SKC sold its stake in a polyimide film-making joint venture, SKC Kolon PI, to Korean private equity firm Glenwood Private Equity in 2019. But there is little chance that SKC will abandon all of its film businesses, even after selling the Chinese unit, the sources added.

As the world’s fourth-largest PET film maker, SKC produces various types of film ranging from optical film, packaging film, industrial film and graphic film to solar film. 

It runs PET film production lines in two locations in Korea, in the US state of Georgia, and in Jiangsu, China. The Chinese arm has an annual capacity of 37,000 tons of PET film at a plant measuring 160,000 square meters. 

Market speculation is that SKC might combine its remaining film businesses into SKC Hi-Tech & Marketing Co., a film processing company, after selling the Chinese unit.

At the end of last year, SKC Solmis, an electronics parts maker, absorbed SKC's semiconductor materials business.

SKC Jiangsu posted a net profit of 10 billion won in the first nine months to September 2020 on sales of 83.7 billion won. In comparison, it earned 300 million won in all of 2019.

Its operating profit growth is expected to accelerate this year, driven by demand for film used in IT gadgets, the sources said.

Write to Jun-ho Cha at chacha@hankyung.com

Yeonhee Kim edited this article.

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