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GS to invest W20tr, hire 21,000 over next 5 years

Over the next five years South Korea’s chemical and energy giant GS Group will invest 20 trillion won (about $18 billion) and create 21,000 new jobs to promote growth and market competitiveness, company representatives said Sunday.

The investment, 4 trillion won each year, is 25 percent more than the average the group has spent each year over the last three years, and it will be spent mostly on the three pillars of the group’s business -- the petrochemical, energy and retail sectors.

A total of 14 trillion won will be spent to expand its existing petrochemical plants in Yeosu, South Jeolla Province, as well as its renewable energy production facilities and natural resource exploration projects overseas. To strengthen its sales network in and out of the country, the group will spend 4 trillion won on its retail arm while injecting 2 trillion into the construction and service sectors.
GS Chairman Huh Chang-soo (Yonhap)
GS Chairman Huh Chang-soo (Yonhap)

The announcement came in line with a series of massive investment plans by Korean conglomerates. As of June, GS Group was the seventh-largest conglomerate in terms of market capitalization.

The decision was made as part of efforts to stimulate business and also to create jobs, said Huh Chang-soo, chairman of GS Group.

“We should endlessly challenge and make drastic investments in order to create new growth engines,” he said during an annual CEO meeting.

“Even if (we are dealing with) unfamiliar businesses now, we have to study and face them to build a foundation for commercialization (of the new businesses) and concentrate our capacities on (new) businesses that show signs of opportunities and possibilities.”

The plan allows GS to build an olefin production plant that will be capable of producing 700,000 tons of ethylene and 500,000 tons of polyethylene a year by 2021. It will be built near the existing production complex in Yeosu, the company said. The group’s renewable energy affiliates will expand investment on biomass, wind power and energy storage systems while its gas energy unit will work to improve its production facilities for liquefied natural gas and build more storage tanks.

GS Retail, which operates the convenience store chain GS25, will seek opportunities to enter Vietnam and increase the number of its branches in Indonesia. Its construction arm, GS Engineering and Construction, will form a task force to review the feasibility of inter-Korean projects amid the changing geopolitical landscape on the Korean Peninsula.

With a maximum budget of 20 trillion won, the group will also come up with new plans over the next five years, a company representative said.

By Cho Chung-un (