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LG aims W50tr to go from smokestack to high-tech

May 29, 2011 - 19:22 By 김지현
OCHANG/CHEONGJU, North Chungcheong Province ― LG Group’s chemical affiliates is targeting 50 trillion won ($46 billion) in sales by 2016 in a bid to complete the firms’ transition from smokestack to high-tech.

The combined sales target of LG Chem, LG Household & Healthcare, LG Hausys and LG Life Sciences would mean double the 24.8 trillion won they raised last year.

The growth, LG said, would be driven by next-generation technologies such as electric car batteries, film pattern retarders, high-end cosmetics and new drugs. 
Workers at LG Chem’s assembly lines in Ochang, North Chungcheong Province, watch over the production of LCD polarizer film. (LG Chem)

“In the 10 years since LG Group divided up its chemical business into these four affiliates, corporate value has surged by 35-fold to reflect tremendous growth,” said one LG official.

The combined market capitalization of the four chemical businesses stood at 43.1 trillion won as of this month.

LG’s chemical division has been doing more than its share to help establish the South Korean company’s name in areas outside of its flagship presence in electronics.

LG Chem, leader in the chemical department, for one has been avidly solidifying its status as the world’s leading maker of electric car batteries, once considered an area where South Korean firms stood little chance against their Japanese counterparts.

The company plans to ramp up sales in car batteries to 4 trillion won by 2015.

It also is expanding its territory in the 3-D industry with its film-type patterned retarder film, which allow TV and monitor manufacturers to roll out products at competitive prices and with battery-free eyewear.

In the cosmetics business, LG Household & Healthcare aims to establish itself as the No. 1 maker of high-end makeup.

Revenues of Su:m 37, still a fairly new entrant in the cosmetics industry, grew by over 70 percent to reach 66 billion won in 2009.

The brand was launched in 2007 specializing in “fermented cosmetics” that goes back to the basics in developing biologically safe and effective makeup.

LG Hausys, a national leader in building and decorative materials, also is seeking a new edge involving technological breakthroughs.

Its products include the GT-K, a home-made curtain wall designed to withstand earthquakes of up to 7 on the Richter scale, and explosion-proof windows that are to be supplied to the U.S. military bases. These windows have received a top grade from Architectural Testing, a U.S.-based testing institute. The company now plans to increase its overseas sales revenues to 40 percent or more of its total.

LG Life Sciences’ goal is to grow to one of the world’s top 50 pharmaceutical companies.

By Kim Ji-hyun (