Hanwha buys car plant automation company, SIT from Seoul-based private equity fund firm SkyLake

Thursday, Sep 24, 2015

Hanwha Energy has bought SIT, a plant automation company, from Seoul-based private equity fund firm SkyLake, the company said Wednesday.

Hanwha completed its buyout deal with SkyLake for about 130 billion won ($109.4 million), reportedly beating out KyungDong City Gas and Kiturami Boiler.

Industry insiders said the latest acquisition would help Hanwha Group reinforce its automation system in the manufacturing sector, including its affiliates Hanwha Techwin, Hanwha L&C and Hanwha Chemical.

SIT was established in 2001 and grew as one of the profitable midsized firms in Korea by seeing a 32 percent sales jump in the past three years.

Last year, the company recorded 80.3 billion won in sales and 15.3 billion won in operating profit, up from 60.5 billion won and 12.2 billion won in 2012, respectively.

Market watchers interpret the latest M&A deal as an indication of Hanwha Group chairman Kim Seung-yeon’s active management despite being excluded from the presidential pardon on Aug.15.

In December, Kim was sentenced to a five-year suspended jail term after being found guilty of diverting company money to pay debts of firms he ran under borrowed names.

Hanwha has been making active investments since the chairman’s return to management, notably the Hanwha-Samsung deal signed in November. Hanwha took over the former Samsung Thales, Samsung General Chemicals and Samsung Total for 1.9 trillion won.

Recently, Hanwha Galleria Timeworld clinched licenses to operate downtown duty-free stores, adding fresh competition in the country’s 8.3 trillion won duty-free market.

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