UPDATE 1-South Korea's SKIET to launch IPO to raise at least $1 bln, sources

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HONG KONG/SEOUL, March 30 (Reuters) - South Korea’s SK IE Technology (SKIET) will begin its initial public offering (IPO) process Wednesday as it aims to raise at least $1 billion, according to two sources with direct knowledge of the matter.

The company received preliminary approval Tuesday for the IPO from the Korea Exchange after lodging its application in December.

Official filings will be made Wednesday to start the deal, said the sources, who could not be named as the information has not yet been made public.

SK IET’s parent SK Innovation Co Ltd declined to comment. SK Innovation owns 90% of SKIET, according to the company’s regulatory filing.

SKIET develops separators, a key component in lithium-ion batteries. It has production facilities in South Korea and China and said on Sunday it had decided to invest about 1.13 trillion won ($996.35 million) to build two additional plants in Poland.

The price at which shares will be offered, and therefore the value of the company, will be decided once the IPO process is finalised which, under the South Korean system, can take several weeks, one of the sources added.

The company made an operating profit of 137 billion won in 2020 and revenue of 460 billion won its filings show.

The deal comes after Coupang Inc raised $4.55 billion in early March and was valued at $60 billion when it listed in New York.

At least two more major deals are expected this year, from mobile games developer Krafton and digital bank Kakao Bank.

Reuters reported in December Kakao Bank had selected Credit Suisse, KB Investment & Securities as lead advisors with Citigroup acting as a co-advisor. ($1 = 1,134.1400 won) (Reporting by Scott Murdoch in Hong Kong and Heekyong Yang in Seoul, editing by Louise Heavens, Kirsten Donovan)