SEOUL, June 8 (Korea Bizwire) — SKC Co. said Wednesday it is selling its polyester (PET) film business to a private equity fund for 1.6 trillion won (US$1.27 billion) as it seeks to bolster its drive for battery materials and other eco-friendly sectors.
SKC said it signed the stock purchase agreement with Hahn & Company, a Seoul-based private equity fund, after its board approved the decision at a meeting earlier in the day.
“The film business has posted continued growth in sales and operating profits based on global competitiveness, but it is different from the direction of strategy that we are pursuing,” the film and chemical materials unit of South Korean conglomerate SK Group said in a press release.
With the sale, SKC said it will work to “solidify the business models to eco-friendly-oriented ones and focus on global expansion and investment in future growth.”
The sale of SKC’s PET film business had been speculated for months, as the company has been ramping up efforts for a pivot to battery components and other advanced materials, especially the copper foil used in lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles.
Hahn & Company will buy SKC’s PET film division, its film-processing subsidiary SKC Hi-Tech & Marketing Co. and U.S. and Chinese operations, SKC said.
The sale is expected to be finalized by the fourth quarter once relevant steps are taken.
The sale marks a major breakaway from the flagship business that SKC is rooted in. SKC started off as South Korea’s first PET film developer in 1977, becoming the fourth in the world in 1980 to have developed colored videotape after the United States, Germany and Japan.
It has expanded its businesses to various types of films, from optical, packaging and display to semiconductor and solar cell. In 2021, SKC posted 1.13 trillion won in sales and 68.9 billion won in operating profit.
SKC acquired KCFT, a copper foil manufacturer, from KKR & Co. Inc. in 2019 and has now renamed the company SK Nexilis Co. as its wholly owned subsidiary.
SKC is predicted to use the proceeds from the sale to expand copper foil facilities. SKC said in November it will spend 900 billion won to build a battery copper foil factory in Poland, with an aim to produce 50,000 tons a year.