Korea’s battery trio forecast to record best-ever earnings in 2021 on EV boom

2021.10.14 11:00:18 | 2021.10.14 15:39:41

[Graphics by Song Ji-yoon]이미지 확대

[Graphics by Song Ji-yoon]

South Korea’s battery trio LG Energy Solution Ltd., Samsung SDI Co. and SK On Co. are forecast to close this year with their best-ever earnings on a global electric vehicle boom backed by developed countries’ efforts to groom the EV market to expedite economic recovery and achieve decarbonization.

According to industry sources on Wednesday, Korea’s No. 1 battery brand LG Energy Solution and runner-up Samsung SDI are projected to report record operating profit in battery business this year. SK On, which has been in the red since the launch of its battery business due to massive initial investment in overseas factories, is also expected to significantly narrow operating loss this year and may turn around by the final quarter of this year at the earliest or the first half of next year. Its revenue is forecast to expand to 6 trillion won ($5.04 billion) next year from estimated 3 trillion won this year.

Their rapid growth has been propelled by the policy drive of major economies such as the U.S. and EU to foster the EV market to promote the economic recovery and reach net zero emissions. In line with this, global finished automakers are rapidly shifting toward EVs, spurring the demand for lithium-ion batteries that is projected to exceed global supplies and boding well for battery business prospect next year.

LG Energy Solution, readying to go public on the Korean bourse, finished the second quarter ended June with its highest-ever operating profit of above 1 trillion won. Its third-quarter earnings is forecast to contract because it has to reflect 600 billion won worth loss reserves on cost-sharing in massive recalls of GM Bolt powered by its battery packs, but it is expected to easily achieve a new milestone in full-year results this year on the back of order backlog of over 180 trillion won.

LG Energy Solution currently commands a 26.6 percent share in the global battery market, slightly below the 27.3 percent share held by the market No. 1 CATL of China.

Samsung SDI’s earnings outlook is also bright. Based on the recent profits from its battery business, the company’s operating profit is estimated to top 1 trillion won for the first time this year. Its battery market share also is rising with Gen 5 rechargeable battery cell newly released last month.

SK On, which is building the world’s largest battery plant in the U.S. with a 13-trillion-won joint investment with American automotive giant Ford Motor Co., is expected to make a fast and strong rebound. It is projected to report a loss of some 60 billion won in the third quarter, narrowed nearly 30 percent from a quarter ago.

SK Innovation shares closed 1.74 percent higher at 263,500 won in Seoul on Thursday. The other two are not listed.

By Won Ho-sup and Lee Ha-yeon

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