SK’s EV Battery Material Unit Eyes $2 Billion Initial Share Sale

South Korean energy supplier SK Innovation Co. plans an initial public offering of its battery separation unit that aims to raise as much as 2.3 trillion won ($2 billion).

SK IE Technology Co. will sell around 8.6 million new shares at between 78,000 won and 105,000 won each, according to a regulatory filing Wednesday. Another 12.8 million shares will be sold by SK Innovation. If the stock is priced at the top of that range, it would give SK IE Technology a market value of around 7.5 trillion won when it lists in May.

A $2 billion IPO would be the largest in South Korea since mobile game-maker Netmarble Corp. raised $2.4 billion in 2017, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. It would also exceed the $1.3 billion listing in February of SK Bioscience Co., one of the manufacturers of AstraZeneca Plc’s Covid-19 vaccine.

The energy and chemicals unit of South Korea’s third-largest conglomerate, SK Group, was relative latecomer to the electric-car battery industry, embracing the technology only as part of a diversification push. SK Innovation, which began developing lithium-ion batteries for hybrid electric vehicles in 2005, spun off the unit in April 2019. Battery separators improve the output and stability of batteries.

Rival conglomerate LG Chem Ltd. spun off its EV battery unit, LG Energy Solution, last year. LG Energy Solution is also planning to IPO, although details haven’t been finalized.

SK IE Technology earlier this week announced it will spend 1.1 trillion won building new factories in Poland to meet growing demand amid an EV boom in Europe. Production is expected to start as early as the fourth quarter of 2023.

SK IE Technology’s Seoul IPO is being managed by Mirae Asset Securities Co. and JPMorgan Chase & Co., assisted by Korea Investment & Securities Co. and Credit Suisse Group AG.

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