SK Group Mulls $39 Billion Investment in Semiconductor Plants

SK Group, which controls the world’s second-largest maker of memory chips, is considering a 46 trillion won ($39 billion) investment to boost capacity.

The spending may include facilities already under construction and two new plants, the company said in an e-mailed statement Monday. South Korea’s third-largest conglomerate, which controls chipmaker SK Hynix Inc., didn’t elaborate on its plans and declined to comment beyond the announcement.

SK Hynix and larger rival Samsung Electronics Co. are spending more on plants to meet demand for memory used in smartphones and tablet computers.

SK Group, led by billionaire Chey Tae Won, comprises more than 80 companies spanning telecommunications, chemicals, energy and shipping with sales of 165.5 trillion won in 2014, according to South Korea’s Fair Trade Commission.

Chey, sentenced to four years in prison in 2013 for embezzling corporate funds to cover personal investment losses, received a presidential pardon last week. The billionaire was one of thousands of business leaders released on the 70th anniversary of Korea’s liberation from Japan on Aug. 14, in a bid to aid the economy.

In June, SK Group overcame opposition to successfully merge two units, strengthening the grip of Chey and his family over the chaebol.

SK Group strategic committee head Chung Chul Khil reported the chip investment to Chey at a management meeting today.

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