October 24, 2018 13:09
Lotte Group will invest W50 trillion and hire 70,000 new staff over the next five years, chairman Shin Dong-bin pledged in an executive meeting Tuesday after being sprung from jail earlier this month (US$1=W1,137).
"We should respond to an uncertain future and unpredictable changes beforehand," Shin said. "In a difficult situation, we need to invest more aggressively."
Lotte promised to spend 70 percent of the investment in Korea, including an initial W12 trillion next year to get its business back on track after pulling out of China and putting all big plans on hold while Shin was behind bars.
He had served some eight months out of a two-and-a-half year sentence for bribing ex-President Park Geun-hye before he was freed on appeal on Oct. 5.
It will be the Korean-Japanese conglomerate's largest investment in a single year, exceeding even the W11.2 trillion spent buying a petrochemical company from Samsung in 2016.
Lotte will now focus on its chemical and construction businesses with an investment of W20 trillion, or 40 percent. Its chemical business has become a reliable cash cow for the group even as the retail arm hit a series of snags.
Some W12.5 trillion or 25 percent will be injected to expand the online business and develop new shopping malls.
"We will use digital technologies such as artificial intelligence and big data to offer new experiences to our customers," a Lotte spokesperson said. "We will make a big investment in setting up online and offline retail infrastructure."
After the meeting, Shin went on his first business trip since his release from jail.
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