LG Energy profit, sales easily beat forecasts on EV demand

Published Fri, Oct 7, 2022 · 05:57 PM

LG Energy Solution’s operating profit was 522 billion won (S$558.7 million) in the three months ending September, comfortably beating expectations as demand for electric vehicles (EVs) and a weak Korean won offset high commodity prices. 

Analysts had on average expected operating profit of 372 billion won for the battery maker. Sales rose 90 per cent to 7.7 trillion won, Seoul-based LG Energy said, also beating the six trillion won average forecast. The company posted a loss in the same quarter last year. 

LG Energy’s shares rose 0.9 per cent before the results, which were preliminary and released after the South Korean stock market closed on Friday (Oct 7). That took their gain in a holiday-shortened week to 13 per cent. The company has yet to announce a date for final results.

The strong quarter came despite challenges that LG Energy has faced since its initial public offering in January, with the whole industry battling supply chain disruptions and rising raw material prices. There are some concerns about the strength of EV sales: Tesla issued a disappointing deliveries report this week, interest rates are rising and used vehicle sales are weakening – a sign that new car sales could take a hit too. 

LG Energy also became entangled in a trade dispute between Washington and Seoul over a US clean energy law aimed at reducing EV makers’ dependence on Chinese minerals. South Korea’s three battery manufacturers – LG Energy, Samsung SDI and SK On – secure most of their minerals from Chinese suppliers. 

Still, the US law could eventually be an opportunity for LG Energy because its supply chain is more diversified than its rivals, Jeon Hyeyoung, an analyst at Daol Investment & Securities in Seoul, wrote in an Oct 4 note. 

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Foreign investors have bought net 619 billion won of LG Energy shares since Aug 8, when the US Senate passed the bill, making it the most favoured stock on the benchmark Kospi. 

The Korean won weakened about 9 per cent against the US dollar during the quarter. 

Jeon said LG Energy’s outlook should be positive as production at Tesla’s Shanghai plant – which it supplies – has accelerated since September, while its Ultium Cells joint venture with General Motors is starting pilot production of batteries in the fourth quarter.  Bloomberg

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