SK Battery on Monday hosted Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp at its factory complex in Commerce as executives set their sights on a future of unencumbered growth after settling a long-simmering dispute with rival LG Energy Solution.
The Korean-owned firm behind the state’s largest-ever investment project thanked the governor for the state’s support amid a drawn-out legal fight that threatened to close down its electric-vehicle battery plants before they truly began production.
“We have stood with them and we’re going to continue to stand with them,” Mr. Kemp reportedly said, a nod to his lobbying on behalf of the company with the Biden administration.
SK Innovation CEO Jun Kim emphasized that not only had its deal with LG saved the initial $2.6 billion and 2,600 jobs promised, but also that SK is forging ahead with an investment plan that would bring those numbers to $5 billion and 6,000 jobs by 2025 now that the specter of an import ban is removed.
According to a LinkedIn post from Georgia Department of Economic Development Commissioner Pat Wilson, also in attendance at the event, 600 people have already been hired on the site, where construction is well under way on the second phase. Mr. Wilson wrote that he’d met people from Athens, Commerce and Toccoa while walking the factory floor.
“Having grown up 30 minutes from the plant, it is incredibly exciting to see SK innovation’s investment already changing the lives and livelihoods of people and communities in the region,” he wrote.
At the event, Mr. Kemp emphasized the importance of the settlement not only for Georgians but also for the U.S. electric-vehicle sector — a factor he had mentioned in multiple appeals to President Biden to overturn a U.S. International Trade Commission ruling in February that threatened the viability of the SK investment.
SK this month agreed to pay LG $1.8 billion to settle their dispute, rendering the import ban moot and potentially saving thousands of local jobs.