LG Chem battery plant to resume in 2-3 months

SEOUL, March 4 (Reuters) - LG Chem 051910.KS said on Tuesday it expected its fire-damaged battery plant to be back in production in two to three months, estimating the stoppage would cost about 80 billion won ($84.5 million) in lost revenue.

Production halted at the second-biggest South Korean battery maker’s Ochang plant, south of Seoul, after a fire broke out on Monday evening.

The fire damaged part of the plant’s assembly lines, boiler room and air-controlling facility, LG Chem said in a filing with the Korea Exchange.

The estimated revenue loss is equivalent to 0.73 percent of the company’s 2007 sales of 10.9 trillion won.

“The impact from the incident will be small thanks to insurance coverage,” LG Chem said.

“Our company will take steps to minimise losses to our clients,” it added without elaborating.

The Ochang plant, which produces about 13.5 million cells a month, is the bigger of LG Chem’s two domestic battery factories.

Shares LG Chem, also the country's largest chemical company, fell 2.77 percent to 77,200 won by 0427 GMT, compared with the wider market's .KS11 0.19 percent loss. Its larger battery rival Samsung SDI 006400.KS rose 4.15 percent to 67,800 won.

LG Chem derives about 68 percent of its sales from petrochemicals and the rest from other products such as computer notebook batteries and polarising plates used in liquefied crystal displays. ($1=946.8 Won) (Reporting by Rhee So-eui, editing by Jonathan Thatcher)