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Investment funds

SK, China’s Geely eye investment fund for hydrogen, eco-friendly business

By Jan 27, 2021 (Gmt+09:00)

SK, China’s Geely eye investment fund for hydrogen, eco-friendly business

South Korea’s SK Holdings Co. and China’s Geely Auto Group are looking to set up a joint fund designed to invest in hydrogen and other eco-friendly car projects.

SK Holdings, the holding and investment company of SK Group, is in talks with Geely, China’s largest automaker, for the launch of the investment fund, according to industry sources on Jan. 26.

The size of the fund is unknown, but is said to be around hundreds of billions of won.

An SK official said the company is discussing with Geely on cooperation in various sectors, including the establishment of an investment fund, but “the size and investment destinations haven’t been decided yet.”

If launched, the fund will likely invest in projects related to hydrogen fuel cell cars, battery electric vehicles and autonomous driving technology, the sources said.

Geely, a leading EV maker in China, is expanding its business into future mobility. It recently set up a joint venture with China’s top Internet portal Baidu Inc. to develop self-driving car technology.

Geely purchased a controlling stake in German automaker Daimler AG in 2008 and acquired the Swedish passenger carmaker Volvo Cars from Ford Motor Co. in 2010.

SK inked />.5 billion deal with Plug Power in January to enter the Asian fuel cell market.
SK inked $1.5 billion deal with Plug Power in January to enter the Asian fuel cell market.

SK’S FUTURE-ORIENTED BUSINESS TO PICK UP MOMENTUM

SK Group, whose energy portfolio ranges from refineries, natural gas and batteries to renewable energy, has been fostering hydrogen and other eco-friendly car business as a key future growth engine.

As part of such efforts, the group earlier this month signed a $1.5 billion deal to acquire a controlling stake in US hydrogen fuel cell maker Plug Power Inc. and launch a joint venture to advance into the rapidly growing Asian fuel cell market.

More recently, the group reshuffled its four investment divisions to each take charge of advanced materials, green business, bio and digital investment. It has also established a hydrogen business task force under the direct control of its CEO.

SK’s latest move to set up a joint investment fund follows a similar deal in 2019, when it launched a 1 trillion won fund with the National Pension Service (NPS) to invest in projects in Vietnam.

The so-called corporate partnership (COPA) fund, to which the NPS and SK committed 500 billion won each, has invested in Vietnam’s two biggest companies – Vingroup and Massan Group.

Through another $1 billion COPA fund with the Korean Teachers’ Credit Union, SK has invested in US shale gas company Gathering & Processing, natural gas and crude oil company Brazos Midstream, and Chinese data center operator ChinData Group.

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

In-Soo Nam edited this article.

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