The South Korean SK Group is investing 1.5 billion US dollars in Plug Power and acquiring just under ten per cent of the shares in the US fuel cell specialist in return.
SK Group and Plug Power are also planning to set up a joint venture in South Korea by 2022 to jointly provide fuel cell systems, hydrogen filling stations and electrolysers for the fast-growing Asian market.
Plug Power is a US manufacturer of fuel cells. The company develops and manufactures fuel cells for applications in electromobility, the operation of industrial trucks and stationary use in emergency power systems.
SK Group is a Korean conglomerate active primarily in the energy, chemicals and IT/semiconductors sectors. In connection with electromobility, the battery division SK Innovation has so far come to the fore. However, the group also includes SK Energy, SK E&S, SK Global Chemical, SK Lubricants, SK Incheon Petrochem, SK Telecom or SK Communications, among others.
The South Korean government has set hydrogen as one of the cornerstones of its future industrial policy and is accordingly promoting the development of a green hydrogen market and value chain. In January 2019, the S.Korean government announced a consolidated plan to build the country’s hydrogen economy. By 2040, a hydrogen economy worth $40 billion is expected to be created in South Korea alone.
“SK Group has an established strategy for building out the hydrogen economy in South Korea and beyond,” said Andy Marsh, CEO of Plug Power. “The current relationship with SK Group offers immediate strategic benefits to Plug Power to accelerate its expansion into Asian markets.” Marsh expects “significant revenue generation” from the yet-to-be-formed joint venture by 2024.
Hyeongwook Choo, head of SK Holdings’ Hydrogen Business Development Center and president and CEO of SK E&S, praised the new partner as a “leadership in hydrogen fuel cell systems, fueling stations and green hydrogen generation represents a powerful team to accelerate the growth of hydrogen economy in Asian markets.” “This partnership between Plug Power and SK will bring significant and solid opportunities in the hydrogen industry, creating value to society,” Choo said.
SK is South Korea’s third-largest conglomerate and will purchase roughly 51.4 million shares. Just hours after the announcement, Plug Power stock jumped up 33.4%. The deal remains subject to regulatory approval and should be concluded in the first quarter of 2021.
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