SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won, right, talks with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell Wednesday at Capitol in Washington D.C. Photo courtesy of Sen. Mitch McConnell office

Korean conglomerate comes up with bold investment plan

SK Group said early this week that its Chairman Chey Tae-won had pledged to invest $52 billion in the United States over the next decade.

Chey made the promise in his recent meetings with top U.S. politicians, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Majority Whip James Clyburn.

“SK Group vies to deal with the climate change by setting up a plan of cutting down on carbon emissions by 200 million tons through 2030,” Choi was quoted as saying in the meetings.

“A half of them will be funneled into such environmentally friendly businesses as electric vehicle batteries, hydrogen, and energy solution. Then, we would be able to contribute to the U.S. emission cuts.”

The billionaire businessman also met with politicians of Tennessee where SK’s unit SK Innovation is set to build production facilities.

SK Innovation, one of South Korea’s leading oil refineries, said this April that it would join hands with U.S. auto giant Ford to roll out electric vehicle batteries in Tennessee and Kentucky beginning mid-decade.

Toward that end, the two companies are scheduled to channel $11.4 billion.

Observers expect that SK Group is ready to tap into the U.S. market for mergers and acquisitions. Their rationale: SK Group restructured its governance system so that it would be able to make bolder investments.

Late last month, SK Group’s unit SK Telecom split off SK Square that controls SK hynix, which could not make major investments under the local law due to its status as a sub-subsidiary.

However, things would be different after the split-off of SK Square; watchers point out.

Hillary Lee studied literature in Seoul. Lee has big interests on various topics including IT, BT, business and finance. Lee can be reached at or 82-2-6956-6698.