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LG Chem acquires LG Electronics’ battery separator biz for W525b

LG Chem Vice Chairman Shin Hak-cheol (LG Chem)
LG Chem Vice Chairman Shin Hak-cheol (LG Chem)


LG Chem said Thursday it has acquired separator business from LG Electronics for 525 billion won ($458.5 million) to target the fast-growing global electric vehicle battery materials market.

According to South Korea’s leading chemical firm, the company took over chemical electronic material business under LG Electronics’ business solutions division.

The acquisition includes all tangible and intangible assets of the business including its production facilities and personnel. The CEM business manufactures materials for batteries and displays and has production bases in Cheongju, North Chungcheong Province, Hangzhou, China and Wroclaw, Poland.

Separators are basically thin elastic walls with tiny holes that divide cathodes, the positive terminal, from anodes, the negative terminal. When batteries are charged and discharged, lithium ions go back and forth between cathodes and anodes through these tiny holes. Separators prevent cathodes and anodes from reacting directly with each other and triggering short circuits or fires.

Previously, LG Chem purchased separators from outside suppliers and coated them with its patented safety-reinforced separator, or SRS technology, which coats separators with nano-scale ceramic particles that cannot be penetrated by ions. The coating allows separators to maintain their shapes at the extreme heat of 180 degrees Celsius.

The acquisition is expected to create synergies LG Chem’s wholly owned battery subsidiary LG Energy Solution.

According to market tracker SNE Research, the market size of electric vehicle battery separators is projected to grow from this year’s 4.1 trillion won to 11 trillion won in 2025.

Separators are one of the four key components of lithium-ion batteries along with cathodes, anodes and electrolytes. LG Chem manufactures cathodes, binders for anodes and additives for electrolytes.

By Kim Byung-wook (kbw@heraldcorp.com)
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