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Samsung SDI hits W20tr in sales for first time

Jan. 30, 2023 - 15:57 By Byun Hye-jin
Samsung SDI CEO Choi Yoon-ho speaks during a Jan. 2 meeting at the company headquarters in Giheung, Gyeonggi Province. (Samsung SDI)

Samsung SDI said Monday it posted record-high earnings in both sales revenue and operating profit last year, largely driven by the surge in sales of value-added battery products.

Revenue skyrocketed 48.5 percent to 20.1 trillion won ($16 billion) last year, while its operating profit jumped 9 percent to 1.8 trillion won. It is the first time sales have reached the 20 trillion won mark. Operating profit soared to new heights as well, surpassing the 1 trillion won mark for the second consecutive year.

“Despite the unstable business environment, we were able to see growth in revenue and profitability with sales increase of the premium lithium-ion battery Gen 5 (P5) in the electric vehicle battery market,” said Kim Jong-sung, vice president of Samsung SDI’s management support division, during a conference call.

Its energy business saw a 71.9 percent increase on-year to 5.3 trillion won in revenue, thanks to a surge in sales of midsized and large batteries.

As for midsized and large batteries, EV batteries led the sales growth. Last year, Samsung SDI’s second Hungary plant started mass production of batteries including Gen 5 ones, the company said. The Energy Storage System division improved profitability in in household sales and Uninterrupted Power Supply, a key component that decides electric power quality, challenging low-priced batteries.

Sales of small batteries remained on a similar level to the third quarter, with sluggish demand on power tool batteries and a surge in sales of circular batteries for EVs.

The electronic materials business saw its revenue increase by 11.9 percent to 623.4 billion won and operating profit to 131.7 billion won, a 62.4 percent increase on-year.

Samsung SDI laid out its plans for this year, stressing it will achieve growth momentum as it did in 2022.

“Although there are concerns that demand for EVs might drop this year, we believe automakers’ electrification strategy and clean car boost in countries will defend the contraction in the industry,” said Michael Son, marketing vice president of midsized and large battery division at Samsung SDI, citing a report by HSI Markit that forecast a 40 percent growth in global EV markets.

“We plan to expand sales of high-end Gen 5 batteries less sensitive to economic slowdowns to improve profitability.”

As for building additional joint ventures in the US, Son added the company is in talks with other automakers aside from Stellantis who forged a partnership with Samsung last year to build a battery plant in Indiana.

By the first half of this year, the company will complete the construction of production facilities in its Cheonan plant in South Chungcheong Province for 46-millimeters-wide circular batteries. It is currently discussing business cooperation with potential partner companies and plans to make samples in a pilot production line.

The battery maker will accelerate commercialization of solid-state batteries, known as “dream batteries,” for their high energy density and safety. It plans to construct the batteries’ production lines by the first half of this year and manufacture small sample cells to test their battery performance.

Samsung SDI outpaced its rival LG Energy Solution in operating profit by 594.3 billion won. Its revenue stood below LG’s 25.6 trillion won.