S.Korea's Samsung SDI absorbs materials unit

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Mar 31 2014 01:15 PM | Updated as of Mar 31 2014 09:15 PM

SEOUL - Samsung SDI, the world's largest smartphone battery maker, said Monday it would absorb an affiliate producing electronic chemical materials, in the latest restructuring of the giant Samsung Group.

Samsung SDI said it would complete the merger with Cheil Industries by July 1 through a stock swap. Both firms are units of Samsung Group, South Korea's largest business conglomerate.

It follows various other restructuring efforts that have fuelled speculation that chairman Lee Kun-Hee, 72, is preparing to hand over control to his children -- a third generation transfer in the family-run group.

Lee's son Jay Y. Lee is vice chairman of the group, and his two daughters both hold very senior positions.

Samsung SDI said the merger would help it become a global player in energy and materials. It also hopes to expand its share in rechargeable batteries for electric vehicles.

The merged company will have annual sales of more than 10 trillion won ($9.37 billion), Samsung SDI said, targeting more than 29 trillion won in sales by 2020.

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