South Korea’s SK Group seeks to boost Chinese presence

SK Innovation Co Ltd., which owns South Korea’s top refiner SK Energy, seeks to boost its presence in China. Chey Tae-won, chairman of SK Innovation’s parent company, SK Holdings, and Sinopec President Wang Yupu met in Beijing last week to discuss ways to strengthen their strategic partnership, SK Innovation said in a statement.

SK’s so-called “China Insider strategy” aims to make China as its second home base after Korea. SK has an existing petrochemical joint venture with Sinopec in Wuhan, Hubei province called Sinopec-SK Wuhan Petrochemical, which was established in 2014.

“Based on our experience of successfully managing Sinopec-SK Wuhan Petrochemical we hope the two companies’ business cooperation can grow deeper and broader,” Chey said.

While the existing partnership has concentrated on the petrochemical business, last week’s meeting was expected to broaden the scope of cooperation into oil refining and lubricants, the company said in a statement. SK Lubricants is a market leader in the Group III base oil segment, with manufacturing footprints in South Korea, Indonesia and Spain.

SK Innovation also aims to bolster its businesses in China through a joint venture or mergers and acquisitions of Chinese chemical companies, the statement said.

“SK Innovation will focus on discovering companies with unique technologies to produce high value-added chemical products, especially in China, and expand business via M&A and global partnering,” a company spokesperson said.