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SK Innovation rises six ranks on top global chemical firm list

SK Innovation rose six ranks on a list of this year’s global top 50 chemical companies complied by Chemical & Engineering News magazine, backed by its drive to beef up its chemical venture beyond its oil refinery business, the company said Wednesday.

According to Chemical & Engineering News, published by the American Chemical Society, SK Innovation ranked No. 38 out of 50 global chemical firms, climbing up six notches compared to last year and showing the second-biggest improvement among the surveyed firms.

“The chemical business-centered Deep Change is starting to show progress. We will bolster the value of SK Innovation through Deep Change 2.0, including merger and acquisition alongside big investments in research and development,” the company said.

Deep Change refers to the company’s drive that began in 2016 to diversify its nonrefinery business portfolio, largely on chemical business expansion.

SK Innovation's chemical plant in Incheon (SK Innovation)
SK Innovation's chemical plant in Incheon (SK Innovation)

SK Innovation has so far invested an accumulated 4.7 trillion won in its chemical business since 2011, starting with its polyethylene brand Nexlene that produces self-developed products from technical development to production.

Backed by such investment, the company’s chemical sector posted roughly 6.3 trillion won in accumulated operating profit from 2011 to this June, the company said.

SK Innovation also seeks to strengthen strategic global partnerships, while looking for promising mergers, the company said.

It is currently in partnership with companies that rank No. 2 to No. 4 on the latest list: multinational chemical firm DowDupont, China’s state run company Sinopec, and Saudi petrochemical maker Sabic.

SK Innovation’s chemical subsidiary SK Global Chemical and Sinopec jointly invested 3.3 trillion won at a ratio of 35:65 to establish Sinopec-SK Wuhan Petrochemical in China in 2013.

Sinopec-SK Wuhan Petrochemical has grown into a cash cow, posting 1.6 trillion won in earnings over the past four years, the company highlighted.

In a bid to become a leading player in the packaging industry, SK Global Chemical also acquired ethylene acrylic acid and polyvinylidene chloride businesses from DowDupont last year, the company said.

By Kim Bo-gyung (