S. Korea designates ultra-high voltage cables as core national technology

By Lim Chang-won Posted : June 20, 2019, 19:39 Updated : June 20, 2019, 19:39

[Yonhap Photo]

SEOUL -- South Korea designated ultra-high-pressure power cables as core national technology as foreign investors, especially from China, showed their interest in acquiring Taihan Electric Wire, the country's second-largest electric wire producer controlled by a private equity fund.

In a decision on Thursday, an industrial technology protection committee chaired by Trade, Industry and Energy Minister Sung Yun-mo designated ultra-high-pressure power cables as core national technology that could seriously damage South Korea's security guarantee and economic development if leaked overseas.

Sung's office said in a statement that the committee recognized the importance of an ultra-high-voltage power cable system due to its high marketability and world-class technologies. The system has a large transmission capacity of more than 500 kilovolts and can transmit both alternating current and direct current.

South Korea's two top electric cable producers, LS Cable & Systems and Taihan Electric Wire, are capable of producing the ultra-high-voltage power cable system. Foreigners should report to the government when they export core technologies or take over companies that possess core technologies.

IMM PE, a private equity fund based in Seoul, purchased 67.1 percent of Taihan Electric Wire for 300 billion won ($258 million) in 2015. The fund sold a 5.84 percent stake for 47.50 billion won through a block deal on April 18. 

Chinese companies are interested in taking over Taihan Electric Wire, causing concerns in the domestic electric wire industry about possible technology leakages. Extra-high voltage cables are used to connect with an electrical grid, which is a wide-area transmission network that makes it possible to trade high volumes of electricity across great distances.

In March, LS Cable decided to build a new plant in the eastern port city of Donghae to produce cables of high-voltage direct current transmission (HVDC), a next-generation electric power technology to convert alternating current into high-voltage DC.

This week, LS Cable and Taihan Electric Wire secured deals from Kuwait's Public Authority for Housing Welfare to supply ground cables for a new city under construction in the Middle East country.
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