The Korea Herald


No. of SK-affiliated companies exceeds 200 for 1st time

By Jie Ye-eun

Published : Feb. 13, 2023 - 15:16

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SK Group headquarters in Jongno-gu, central Seoul (SK Inc.) SK Group headquarters in Jongno-gu, central Seoul (SK Inc.)

Energy-to-semiconductor conglomerate, SK Group, has the largest number of affiliated companies among 76 local business groups with 5 trillion won ($3.9 billion) or more in assets, data showed Monday.

According to South Korea's Fair Trade Commission, SK Group, the country's second-largest business group in terms of assets, had 201 affiliates as of Jan. 31. The figure went up by six from just three months ago.

It is the first time for the number of affiliates among large business groups to exceed 200 since the antitrust regulator introduced the conglomerate designation scheme in 1987.

During the period from November to January, the total number of local companies affiliated with large business groups came in at 2,882, compared with 2,877 three months earlier, according to the FTC.

The average number of affiliated companies stood at 38 over the cited period.

Kakao, the country's top mobile messenger and platform operator, came next in line with a total of 126 affiliates, including 118 non-financial affiliates and eight financial affiliates.

Energy-to-construction conglomerate GS Group held the third most at 96, followed by Hanwha Group and Lotte Group holding 93 and 90, respectively.

SK also newly added the largest number of affiliates under its wing with eight, followed by Lotte with six units. Hanwha, Jungheung Group and Netmarble added four each, the data showed.

Under fair trade laws, companies belonging to the same business group are seen as affiliate firms of each other.

SK has seen steady growth in its number of affiliated companies in recent years. The figure jumped from 75 in 2010 to 125 in 2020, and now to 201.

SK attributed the recent surge to the fact that the group engaged in bringing changes to its business portfolio through mergers and joint venture establishments. In some cases, sub-subsidiaries followed as the group acquired subsidiaries, an SK official said.

Citing the example of SK ecoplant, which was formerly known as SK engineering & construction, the SK official said that the group has been seeking to build a portfolio based on eco-friendly and sustainable energy.

Recently, the semiconductor-to-telecom conglomerate also acquired various companies industrywide, including a waste disposal firm, a recycled plastics manufacturer, a wafer foundry and an intermediary solutions firm for replacement drivers.

In October last year, SK gas established Lotte SK Eneroot, a 50-50 hydrogen joint venture with Lotte Chemical, to build hydrogen fueling stations nationwide and look for business opportunities in green hydrogen and ammonia.