SK Innovation will build its second electric vehicle (EV) battery plant in Hungary. It will spin off its materials business, including Li-ion battery separator (LiBS) and polyimide (PI), as a subsidiary.
On February 27th, SK Innovation announced that it had voted for the establishment of a second production corporation and facility investment in Hungary. The investment amount is 945.2 billion won, and it will be established in the same location as the first factory in Komarom with a total area of 115,500㎡ (about 35,000 pyong). Production at the first plant is 7.5 GWh. At that time, the investment amount was 850 billion won. The production volume of the second plant has not been disclosed. But it can be estimated based on the investment amount. It is estimated to be around 9GWh.
SK Innovation plans to build the second plant in March. After completion of the heavy equipment in the first half of 2020, the two-sided equipment will be maintained in early 2022. SK Motors has made a decision to strengthen its competitiveness in the European automobile market and increase its legitimacy.
The battery production capacity announced to date is about 38.5GWh, including the Seosan plant (4.7GWh) and followed by the Hungarian Komarom plant (7.5GWh), the Changzhou factory in China (7.5GWh), and the plant in Georgia (9.8GWh). In order to secure 60GWh capacity in 2022, the company needs 21.5GWh. That is why it is more likely that additional investments will be made.
Moreover, SK Innovation will divide its materials business, which will be fostered as a future business, into a 100% subsidiary (tentatively called SK IEE Materials) as decided by the board of directors. It is a strategy to expand its global expertise and secure global competitiveness. The division will be made on April 1st after division is confirmed at the general shareholders' meeting next month. The number of subsidiaries will be increased to 6 including SK Energy, SK General Chemical, SK Lubricants, SK Incheon Petrochemical, SK Trading International, and SK IEE Materials.
The materials business is responsible for LiBS, which is the core material of lithiumion batteries, and transparent PI, which plays a key role in realizing a foldable display. SK Innovation is the second largest company in the LiBS market based on aggressive investment. It is in fierce competition with Asahi Kasei, the No. 1 company, to expand capacity. For transparent PI, the company invests about 40 billion won in Jeongpyeong in Chungcheongbuk-do to build a mass-production plant. It plans to start operation in the second half of this year and to equip pilot facilities first.
SK Innovation CEO Kim Joon said, "The battery and materials business, which has been selected as the core of Deep Change 2.0, undergoing rapid change, and thus a preemptive response to this market is the key to business success."