[THE INVESTOR] SK Siltron has officially launched as SK Group’s semiconductor parts maker, after the group’s chairman acquired a remaining 29.4 percent stake from LG Siltron’s creditors.
According to news reports, the conglomerate’s chief Chey Tae-won bought a 29.4 percent stake on Aug. 30 from creditors including Woori Bank, via a special purpose company.
The latest acquisition followed SK Group’s purchase of a 51 percent stake from LG for 620 billion won ($549 million) in January and an additional 19.6 percent stake from KTB Private Equity in May.
SK Group, including its chief, spent around 1 trillion won in total to hold a 100 percent stake in LG Siltron.
SK Siltron, whose name was changed two weeks ago, is the only wafer producer in Korea and the fourth largest globally. Wafers are thin slices of semiconductor materials used in electronics for the fabrication of chips.
Amid a global boom in chips, the wafer price has risen 10 to 20 percent over the year, becoming a concern for chipmakers, including Samsung Electronics and SK hynix.
SK hynix’s Executive Lee Myung-young said during a conference call in July, “The wafer supply has become tighter this year and the price has risen 15 to 20 percent compared to the end of last year.”
“The trend of rising prices is expected to continue until next year,” he added.
The acquisition of LG Siltron will allow SK hynix to have a stable wafer supply and also to speed up vertical integration of semiconductor operations within the group.
“The acquisition clearly shows SK’s strong willingness to push for the vertical integration of chips. It is expected to create a significant synergy within the group due to the wafer boom,” said Kim Kyung-min, an analyst at Daishin Securities.
Last year, SK acquired OCI Materials, a producer of special gases used in semiconductors, for 500 billion won, and changed its name into SK Materials.
This year, SK hynix jumped into the race to buy a stake in Japanese tech giant Toshiba’s memory unit by joining a consortium led by the US buyout company Bain Capital.
Although the consortium was chosen as the preferred bidder in June, the situation is now uncertain as the US chipmaker Western Digital, Toshiba’s joint venture partner for its chip business, protested against the decision, and even filed a lawsuit.
“SK Group appears to continue to consider more investment in local semiconductor material companies as there was an order from the management for further merger and acquisition in materials,” according to a local newspaper that cited a source from SK Group.
By Shin Ji-hye/The Korea Herald (email@example.com)