Lotte Group announced plans Tuesday to invest 50 trillion won ($44 billion) over the next five years, a move intended to quickly normalize the group’s business after its Chairman Shin Dong-bin returned to the helm after eight months away, upon being released from jail earlier this month.
The retail-to-chemicals giant said it plans to invest 12 trillion won in 2019, the largest investment amount for a single year.
Lotte Group Chairman Shin Dong-bin enters Lotte Group headquarters in Lotte World Tower in Jamsil, Seoul on Oct. 8. (Yonhap)
In the next year, the group said the amount will be put to mainly strengthening the two pillars of the group’s business -- retail and chemicals -- such as by reinforcing online retail business with artificial intelligence and digital technology, as well as extending large-scale chemical production facilities in Korea, Indonesia and the US.
“The plan indicates our will to quickly normalize management activities that recently slowed, secure competitiveness for future growth and contribute to revitalizing the national economy,” Lotte said.
The group said up to 40 percent of the investment will be injected to intensifying its chemicals and construction businesses, while 25 percent and another 25 percent put to retail and hotel businesses. The remaining 10 percent is to go to its food businesses, including confectioneries.
Along with the investment plan, Lotte said it would hire about 70,000 people in the next five years, mainly to reinforce its retail arm’s e-commerce business.
Meanwhile, Chairman Shin Dong-bin flew to Japan on Tuesday, 19 days after he was released from jail on a suspended sentence in a bribery case.
The group officials said Shin will stay in Japan for one to two weeks to meet with executives there, including Japan-based Lotte Holdings CEO Takayuki Tsukuda.
Currently a Japanese firm owns major stakes in many Lotte units and binds the whole conglomerate together. Fifty percent of the company is owned by Japanese packaging firm Kojunsha, which owns almost the entire stake in Hotel Lotte. The Lotte chairman has been seeking to list the hotel chain in Korea by the end of this year in order to reduce the influence of his elder brother Shin Dong-joo, the largest shareholder of Kojunsha.
Earlier this month, a Seoul appeals court released Shin from jail after suspending a bribery and embezzlement sentence for four years.
Shin had been convicted following a series of investigations into the group, including a bribery investigation that led to the departure of former President Park Geun-hye.
By Kim Da-sol (firstname.lastname@example.org