Tender for SK materials’ industrial gas facility draws global PEFs

2022.05.02 13:58:12 | 2022.05.02 15:36:58

[Photo by MK DB]이미지 확대

[Photo by MK DB]

A tender for SK materials gas unit’s high-pressure gas plant with an estimated price tag of more than 800 billion won ($632 million) has drawn multiple bidders including global private equity majors on expectation for guaranteed profits from long-term gas sales.

According to the investment banking (IB) industry on Sunday, SK materials airplus shortlisted candidates including Macquarie Asset Management and Brookfield Asset Management for its industrial gas production facility located at SK hynix’s factory in Icheon, Gyeonggi Province on April 28.

SK materials airplus, SK Group holding entity SK Inc.’s wholly owned subsidiary, is an industrial and medical gas supplier for various oil and semiconductor companies. It has factories across Korea such as Ulsan, Cheongju, Icheon, Gumi, and Yeongju.

The industrial gas production facility up for grabs supplies industrial gas via the pipeline to SK hynix’s DRAM chip plant in Icheon. Global entities have enthusiastically joined the tender because SK materials airplus has long-term supply contracts with its key clients which include group affiliates such as SK hynix, which would result in handsome profits.

SK materials airplus reported revenue of 242 billion won and an operating profit of 71.2 billion won last year.

Considering its stable earnings sources, the facility is estimated at over 800 billion won. SK materials airplus sold another facility in the same Icheon complex to a domestic company for around 58 billion won last year.

SK materials airplus, formerly known as SK Airgas, was established as a joint venture between Taiyo Nippon Sanso, the largest industrial gas supplier in Japan, and SKC in 2007. SK materials then acquired a 100 percent stake in the JV by purchasing SKC’s and Taiyo’s shares in 2016 and 2018. SK materials airplus became a wholly owned subsidiary of SK Inc. when the holdings entity merged with SK materials last year.

The SK gas unit plans to use the funds from the sale to develop new businesses such as advanced materials.

Shares of SK were closed down 0.37 percent at 269,000 won on Monday.

By Cho Yoon-hee and Susan Lee

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