Shin Hak-cheol, chief executive of LG Chem
South Korea’s leading chemical company LG Chem Ltd. has vowed to earn a record 30 trillion won ($25.4 billion) in sales this year by revamping its business portfolio to focus more on electric vehicle batteries and markets beyond Korea and China.
Shin Hak-cheol, chief executive of LG Chem, revealed the company’s mid- to long-term strategy Tuesday at his first press conference since taking office in January. The former 3M executive vice president had made headlines as the first outside recruit to head the 71-year-old company.
Shin said the company aims to hit record sales of 30 trillion won ($25.4 billion) this year. It also set a target to reach 59 trillion won in sales by 2024 to become one of world’s top five chemical players.
The petrochemical business currently makes up 60 percent of LG Chem’s total revenue. Shin said this would be lowered to 30 percent. Instead, the proportion of the battery business would be pushed up to 50 percent to reach an estimated 31 trillion won in sales.
Revenue dependence on Korea and China would be scaled down to 50 percent from current 70 percent, while the sales proportion of U.S. and Europe would be doubled to 40 percent, he said.
“This groundwork will make our strong company even stronger and elevate our status to that of a truly global player,” Shin said. “By the end of the year, 70 percent of sales would be generated from overseas, with half of our staff to be based outside of Korea,” he added.
To achieve the targets, Shin said the company would bolster its portfolio to make it more market- and customer-oriented, invest in R&D that drives technology commercialization, improve operational efficiency, and create a corporate culture more conducive to a multinational company.
LG Chem plans to spend a record 1.3 trillion won in R&D this year and bump up the related workforce to 6,200 from 5,500 employees. By the first half of 2020, the company intends to boost productivity across its local and global operations by more than 5 percent annually. It has also set a target to cut failure costs by half, including those related to operational losses, rework and returned products, within the next five years.
By Han Ye-kyung and Kim Hyo-jin
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