South Korean energy conglomerate SK Innovation Company has agreed to sell a 40% stake in SK Lubricants Company to a local private equity fund, according to reports.

SK Innovation, which has a spread of energy businesses from oil refineries, petrol stations to electric vehicle battery manufacturing, is looking to increase its exposure to growth sectors, particularly EV batteries.

The company was ordered recently by the US International Trade Commission to pay KRW2trn (US$1.8bn) in compensation for technology infringements to its domestic EV battery rival LG Energy Solution.

Following the court hearing, SK Innovation said it would press ahead with plans to invest US$2.6bn to build a new factory in the US state of Georgia to supply EV batteries to Ford and Volkswagen.

SK Innovation said it had signed an agreement to sell the shares in SK Lubricants to IMM Credit Solution for KRW1.1trn (US$992m). The subsidiary generated sales of KRW3.4trn and an operating profit of KRW294bn in 2020.