|Lotte Chemical CEO Kim Gyo-hyun speaks during a press conference at Lotte World Tower in Seoul, Thursday. Courtesy of Lotte Chemical|
By Park Jae-hyuk
Lotte Chemical will establish a U.S. subsidiary directing its electric vehicle (EV) battery material business there by the end of the first half of this year, as part of efforts to counteract the Joe Biden administration's "Buy American" policies, the company said Thursday.
The petrochemical unit of Lotte Group also indicated that it will build additional facilities to produce battery materials in the U.S. by 2025 at the latest, for Korean battery makers that plan to start manufacturing there by 2026.
"The Biden administration has implemented policies strongly inducing semiconductor, EV and key material suppliers to produce their products in the U.S.," Lotte Chemical CEO Kim Gyo-hyun said in a press conference. "Material plants must accompany battery plants, but there are not many Korean material producers that have enough capital."
Lotte Chemical President Lee Young-jun, who leads the battery materials business group, said that the company has made efforts to enhance its competitiveness in the sector by adopting core technologies under strategic alliances with its partners, although he did not specify their names.
"Basically, we have continuously talked with end-users," Lee said.
Lotte Chemical unveiled this plan while announcing its strategies to increase revenues to 50 trillion won ($39 billion) by 2030, under the eco-friendly slogan, "Every Step for GREEN."
In particular, it seeks to raise its revenue from battery materials to 5 trillion won by 2030, by investing up to 4 trillion won in the sector.
"Our investments in the U.S. market will account for 60 percent (of our entire investments in the battery materials business)," Lee said.
In addition to the battery materials business, Lotte Chemical plans to expand its presence in the production of clean hydrogen, as well as in the bioplastic business.
"Based on our consumers, the supply chain and eco-friendly technologies, we will contribute to the creation of a hydrogen-oriented ecosystem, doing our best for our every step to contribute to Korea's eco-friendly prosperity," said Lotte Chemical President Jack Hwang, who leads the basic chemicals business.
Hwang added that the completion of Lotte Chemical's large petrochemical complex under construction in Indonesia will enable the company to enhance its competitiveness in the basic chemicals business, based on growing demand in the Southeast Asian market.