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LG Chem obtains first quarterly surplus from battery biz this year

LG Chem, South Korea’s leading lithium-ion battery maker, obtained the first quarterly surplus from its battery unit in 2019, despite a series of fires involving the firm’s energy storage systems, according to the company on Friday.

Of the total of 380.3 billion won ($323.92 million) in operating profit for the July to September period, the company’s battery unit reported a 71.2 billion won operating profit, representing a swing back into surplus territory for the first time this year after posting a deficit for the past two quarters.

The company’s overall operating profit for Q3 showed a 42.2 percent jump quarter-on-quarter, owing to the battery business’s improved performance. 

Most of the Q3 profit was the result of ESS sales in foreign markets, the company said during a conference call.

“While the company’s ESS sales are close to zero in the domestic market, the overseas sales will grow 50 percent this year compared to last year, and will increase further by 30 to 40 percent next year,” a company executive said.

Regarding the electric vehicle battery business, the company announced plans to increase its production capacity to 70 gigawatt hours by the end of the year, and by 100 GWh by next year.

“The ramp up will take place mainly in Poland and China next year,” the executive said.

The petrochemical and energy affiliate of LG Group said it posted a total of 7.35 in sales, up 2.4 percent from the previous quarter.

The petrochemical unit posted 3.96 trillion won in sales and 321.2 billion won in operating profit. The advanced material unit recorded 1.22 trillion won in sales and 32.8 billion won in operating profit.

By Song Su-hyun (