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Honam to Buy Out Unit KP Chemical in Bid for Asia Expansion

Honam Petrochemical Corp., South Korea’s second-biggest ethylene producer, plans to buy out minority shareholders in subsidiary KP Chemical Corp. this year as it seeks expansion and revenue growth in Asia.

“We need to beef up our petrochemicals business and become big enough to compete throughout Asia,” Chief Executive Officer Chong Bum Shick said yesterday. “We are open to acquisitions.”

Honam, which targets sales of 40 trillion won ($37 billion) by 2018 from an estimated 14 trillion won this year, is diversifying its products, betting on rising demand for low-carbon energy business as governments tighten regulations on emissions.

Seoul-based Honam acquired Malaysia’s Titan Chemicals Corp. in 2010 for 1.5 trillion won and said last week it will partner ZBB Energy Corp. of the U.S. to move into the energy -storage business. KP Chemical, which is 52 percent owned by Honam, has production bases in Korea, the U.K. and Pakistan.

Shares of Honam almost tripled in Seoul trading in the past year, the sixth-best performance on South Korea’s benchmark Kospi 200 stock index. The shares gained 0.9 percent to 382,000 won on Friday, compared with a 0.03 percent decline by the Kospi.

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