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LG Energy Solution gearing up for January IPO

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By Kim Bo-eun

LG Energy Solution (LGES) CEO Kwon Young-soo / Courtesy of LGES
LG Energy Solution (LGES) CEO Kwon Young-soo / Courtesy of LGES
LG's battery affiliate is on track for its IPO, which is set to take place in January of next year. LG Energy Solution (LGES) has moved aggressively to make up for damage and restore market trust in the past months following battery fires, and now awaits its planned debut on the local stock market.

The Korea Exchange is currently reviewing the battery maker's filing for its IPO and is expected to issue an approval soon.

LGES had initially submitted documents for review in June, but the process was suspended in the following months due to a series of fires in GM's Chevrolet Bolt EVs, fitted with LG batteries. The battery maker's parent company, LG Chem, saw its stock plummet in August. LGES and LG Electronics, which supplied the battery modules, settled the recall issue by setting 1.4 trillion won as expenses to pay GM for the Bolt EV recalls.

Taking into consideration the time IPO proceedings usually take, LGES is expected to list on the main KOSPI bourse in January.

The battery maker's value is known to have been calculated to range between 75 trillion ($63.13 billion) and 80 trillion won ($67.34 billion). This range is down from market projections of 100 trillion won, made a few months earlier, due to battery fire issues.

The valuation takes into consideration the market capitalization of rival companies, such as China's CATL, but the latest calculation is considered conservative when taking into account the fact that CATL's market cap is just below 300 trillion won.

"Valuation will be the trickiest part, given that there may be variables that affect the company's worth at the time when it seeks its stock market debut," an industry official said.

LG Group appointed former Group Vice Chairman Kwon Young-soo to LGES's CEO on Nov. 1, which was widely seen as a move for the group to focus on building the competitiveness of LGES, by successfully completing its IPO and better managing possible battery issues.

A successful stock market listing is an imperative for the battery maker, given the massive scale of investments needed in setting up additional production facilities with partner carmakers.

Battery fires continue to loom as a risk for LGES's valuation. LGES is in competition with CATL, which now ranks No. 1, for the top spot in the global battery market.

LGES has moved quickly to expand battery production, and formed partnerships with major global carmakers to secure long-term clients. Besides LG's tie-up with GM, called Ultium Cells, the battery marker also recently joined hands with Stellantis, the sixth-largest global automaker, with brands such as Jeep and Fiat under its arm, to set up a battery plant in the U.S.

Outside of the U.S., LGES partnered with Hyundai Motor Group to build a battery production plant in Karawang, Indonesia by 2023.


Kim Bo-eun bkim@koreatimes.co.kr


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