SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won (R) talks with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., October 27 at the U.S. Capitol in Washington D.C. Photo courtesy of Sen. Mitch McConnell’s office
SEOUL, Nov. 4 (UPI) -- South Korea's SK Group announced that Chairman Chey Tae-won has pledged to invest $52 billion in the United States by 2030, with half going to eco-friendly businesses.
Chey made the pledge in meetings in Washington, D.C., with U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and House Majority Whip James Clyburn, D-S.C.
"SK strives to deal with climate change in a pre-emptive way by setting up a plan of reducing carbon emissions by 200 million tons through 2030," Chey said in a company statement.
"Half of [the amount] will be channeled into eco-friendly businesses, including electric vehicle batteries, hydrogen and energy solutions so that we will be able to contribute to U.S. emission cuts," he said.
On his D.C. trip Oct. 27 through Monday, Chey, 60, also met with Republican Tennessee Sens. Marsha Blackburn and Bill Hagerty to discuss a SK assembly and battery complex to be built in the state, SK Group said.
Earlier this year, SK Innovation, an affiliate, said it would partner with U.S. automaker Ford to produce electric vehicle batteries in Tennessee and Kentucky, beginning in 2025.
The two companies are scheduled to channel $11.4 billion toward that end, creating around 11,000 jobs. The amount is the biggest investment yet made by both companies.
"On top of building factories, SK Group is expected to become proactive in the M&A market in the U.S. after its latest restructuring," Seoul-based business tracker Leaders Index CEO Park Ju-gun told UPI News Korea.
"The group might acquire U.S. companies that are related to eco-friendly technologies or businesses."
Last month, SK Telecom, another affiliate of SK Group, split off into SK Square, which will control non-telecom businesses and tech affiliates, including SK hynix, the world's second-largest memory chip maker.
Under local laws, SK hynix cannot make brisk investments as it is a sub-subsidiary. However, the split-off of SK Square will enable the tech giant to make bold moves in the M&A market, Park said.