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LG Energy Solution debuts after US$13 trillion frenzy in South Korea's biggest IPO

LG Energy Solution debuts after US$13 trillion frenzy in South Korea's biggest IPO

An employee walks past the logo of LG Energy Solution at its office building in Seoul, South Korea, on Nov 23, 2021. (Photo: Reuters/Kim Hong-Ji)

SEOUL: Shares of battery maker LG Energy Solution Ltd (LGES) debut on Thursday (Jan 27) after South Korea's biggest-ever initial public offering (IPO) attracted bids worth US$13 trillion, underscoring upbeat prospects for the electric vehicle industry.

LGES priced its 12.8 trillion won (US$10.7 billion) IPO at the top of the range, becoming South Korea's third most-valuable company after Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix with a nearly US$60 billion market valuation.

Spun out of LG Chem, the firm commands more than 20 per cent of the global EV battery market and supplies Tesla Inc, General Motors Co and Volkswagen AG among others.

It sold its shares in the offering at 300,000 won each.

Its trading debut will set the tone for upcoming IPOs in South Korea as retail investors - known as "ants" - have flocked to the stock market with liquidity aided by the government's stimulus policy during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"It is quite tricky to predict LGES' first-day trading performance, mainly because the market's recent volatility caused by various factors such as investor concerns over the Federal Reserve and how quickly it will move," said Park Jung-hoon, fund manager at HDC Asset Management in Seoul.

More than 4.4 million retail investors bid a record 114 trillion won (US$95 billion) to subscribe to shares in the IPO, Asia's largest equity fund raising since Alibaba raised US$12.9 billion in its Hong Kong secondary listing in 2019.

Nearly 2,000 foreign and domestic institutional investors lodged bids worth about US$12.8 trillion.

More than 20 companies went public on South Korea's main board last year, raising about 17 trillion won, nearly double the previous record of 8.8 trillion won raised in 2010, according to bourse operator Korea Exchange.

While LGES' market value is dwarfed by its bigger Chinese rival Contemporary Amperex Technology's (CATL) US$208 billion market capitalisation, LG Chief Executive Kwon Young-soo has pointed to a 260 trillion won battery order backlog to highlight the company's growth potential.

Analysts caution LGES will still likely face growing competition as Chinese peers expand into the global market and more automakers seek to develop their own EV battery technologies.

Source: Reuters/aj

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