(April 26): South Korean energy supplier SK Innovation Co. and SK IE Technology Co. have raised 2.25 trillion won ($2 billion) in the battery material unit’s initial public offering, the country’s biggest in four years.
SK IE Technology has priced the offering at 105,000 won per share, the top of a marketed range, according to an exchange statement on Monday. The portion for institutional investors was 1,883 times oversubscribed. At $2 billion, the IPO of the maker of battery separators will be South Korea’s largest since mobile game-maker Netmarble Corp. raised $2.4 billion in 2017, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
The shares had been marketed at 78,000 won to 105,000 won each, with SK Innovation selling 12.8 million shares and SK IE Technology selling another 8.6 million.
SK IE Technology’s float comes as Korea is expected to see a record year for first-time share sales, with a number of billion-dollar-plus deals in the pipeline. Companies have already raised about $2.7 billion through IPOs in Korea since Jan. 1, more than half of the $5 billion that was fetched in all of 2020, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
A boom in retail trading in the country last year contributed to a strong 2020 for Korean IPOs, with mom-and-pop buyers piling into deals such as the float by K-pop superstar boy band BTS’ agency. Analysts expect that enthusiasm to continue this year given the country’s loose monetary policy.
Hit game developer Krafton Inc., LG Chem Ltd.’s battery business and KakaoBank Corp., Korea’s biggest mobile-only bank, are among the companies planning large offerings this year.
SK Innovation, the energy and chemicals unit of South Korea’s third-largest conglomerate, SK Group, was a relative latecomer to the electric-car battery industry, embracing the technology only as part of a diversification push. It began developing lithium-ion batteries for hybrid electric vehicles in 2005 and spun off the unit in April 2019. Battery separators improve the output and stability of batteries.
SK IE technology plans to use the IPO proceeds for capital expenditures related to capacity expansion in Poland and China, as well as for the upgrading and maintenance of its production facilities and equipment. The company announced last month it will spend 1.1 trillion won building new factories in Poland to meet growing demand amid an EV boom in Europe.
SK IE Technology’s IPO is being managed by Mirae Asset Securities Co. and JPMorgan Chase & Co., assisted by Korea Investment & Securities Co. and Credit Suisse Group AG. Its shares are expected to start trading on May 11.