- It was the first investment after the release of the Financial Story. Aims for the World’s No. 1 copolyester by 2025
- Following CHDM, the company is reviewing the expansion of the copolyester production line and investing in global infrastructure for chemical recycling
SK chemicals is expanding its production capacity for high-performance transparent plastic materials to become the world’s No. 1 producer of copolyester. SK chemicals (CEO Jeon Kwang-hyun) announced on the 28th that it had held an ESG committee and a board meeting, respectively, and decided to invest in the expansion of CHDM (cyclohexanedimethanol), a key raw material in copolyester production. With an investment of KRW 55.9 billion, SK chemicals will boost CHDM production by 25% when fully operational in 2024. This investment decision was made to increase internal production following the expansion of sales of high-content copolyester CHDM products and secure stable supply capacity to customers for coating/adhesive applications. An increase in production capacity one year after starting operations at the new facilities is expected.
CHDM is a high-value-added raw material that increases the physical properties of plastics, such as flexibility, weather resistance, and transparency and SK chemicals established a batch production system for its copolyester business, starting with the world’s second commercial production of CHDM in 2001. Based on this, SK chemicals is producing its core products, SKYGREEN, a highly functional transparent plastic, and ECOZEN, a highly heat-resistant transparent material, and selling quantities to coating/adhesive producers. The CHDM market is considered a market with high entry barriers for new companies because a small number of companies with original technologies, including SK chemicals, occupy the market.
Copolyester material poses no risks of exposure to bisphenol A (BPA), an environmental hormone. It has high transparency and excellent gloss like glass but is light and strong, making it ideal for applications in household goods, electronic components, construction materials, optical films, and industrial materials. In 2021, SK chemicals’ copolyester division sales increased by 26% over the same period of the previous year. This reflects the company’s expansion of copolyester production facilities last year that is now operating at 100% capacity. SK chemicals’ copolyester market share is about 40%, and the company plans to expand its market with strategies such as ▲ the expansion of sales of recycled solutions, ▲ the development of new use cases such as 3D printing, ▲ expansions to Southeast Asian and Latin American markets that have high market potential.
Kim Eung-soo, head of SK chemicals copolyester business unit, said, “We are considering the expansion of a new copolyester production line and the establishment of a global infrastructure for chemical recycling as the first investment we will make after the release of the Financial Story for CHDM expansion”, and added, “We will strive to grow into a leading chemical recycling company following the world’s No. 1 copolyester producer.”
Meanwhile, at the 2nd ESG Committee held this time, the regulations of the Investment Deliberation Committee were revised, and at the 7th Board of Directors meeting, the ESG Committee regulations were revised. In order to enhance the effectiveness of ESG management in the company’s major decision-making matters, financial and non-financial risk management has been strengthened and the activities of the ESG committee have been specified. In addition, in order to minimize the negative impact of investment projects on the environment and society, a procedure for reviewing the ESG review result report has been added during the deliberation of investment proposals.