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Doosan relies on electronics biz after selling key affiliates

Doosan’s sign in front of Doosan Tower in Seoul / Korea Times file

By Kim Hyun-bin

Doosan Group has gone through some major hurdles to save its flagship affiliate, Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction, from financial turmoil by selling off cash cow units as part of major restructuring measures.

Now, the conglomerate is focusing on expanding its electronics business to increase sales through diversification and finding new growth opportunities in that sector.

Doosan’s electronics business is projected to achieve an operating profit of 114.6 billion won ($99.9 million) for this year, up 17 percent from 2020. Even with the major restructuring, Doosan is set to increase profitability at its key businesses due to increased demand.

Doosan Group has been selling off key affiliates that accounted for a substantial portion of its operating profit in order to reduce its debt. Earlier this year, it sold off Doosan Mottrol, which produces components for excavators. Earlier this month, the conglomerate sold Doosan Bobcat, a cash cow construction equipment manufacturing affiliate. Bobcat accounted for 27 percent of the group-wide operating profit and Mottrol accounted for 17 percent.

Now, Doosan is left with just a handful of affiliates including electronics, along with the retail and hydrogen businesses. The conglomerate’s electronics unit has become its main cash cow, taking up 69 percent of group-wide operating profit, up from 39 percent before the restructuring and sell-offs.

The electronics affiliate is focusing on expanding its production of copper clad laminate (CCL) products, which are the main components used to produce printed circuit boards (PCB). According to Yuanta Securities Korea, Doosan has ranked at the top in terms of the CCL market share since 2016.

Doosan’s electronics affiliate generated 816.1 billion won in sales and aims to achieve 2 trillion won in sales by 2025. It plans to generate 1.15 trillion won in sales through its CCL business and 950 billion won in sales from new growth engines, including its displays, electric vehicle (EV) components and energy materials businesses by 2025.

Doosan is considering expanding into the production of flexible copper clad laminate (FCCL) products.

The FCCL that goes into rechargeable battery cables is crucial in reducing the weight of electric vehicles, because it is thinner than other copper cables. The use of FCCL is expected to increase drastically as many reports show the EVs are expected to account for 40 percent of the global vehicle market by 2030.

“Doosan’s electronics business is expected to achieve a record breaking performance in the second quarter, with the rise in demand. The solid performance is expected to continue through the third quarter,” Kim Chang-won, a researcher at IBK Securities, said. “Mottrol was excluded this year and from the latter half of the year. But excluding the sold-off businesses, operating profit is expected to increase 20 percent in 2021 compared to last year.”

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