Lucrative membrane market targeted by South Korean electronics giant

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SEOUL, South Korea, Nov. 11, 2010 -- Electronics company LG Electronics (LG) will be investing more than USD400 million over the next decade to enter the water treatment market and develop an advanced membrane filtration system.

The company hopes to generate USD 7 billion in revenue by 2020 and in the process become a top 10 global water treatment company.

LG will begin with industrial water treatment and expand its coverage into sewage and drinking water treatment. The company eventually plans to enter the business of water treatment engineering and procurement as well as operation and maintenance across the municipal sector.

As part of the move, the company said it will be hiring membrane filtration experts and process engineers as well as pursuing various types of partnerships, mergers and acquisitions as part of its strategy to expand quickly.

The total membrane market is expected to grow from $1.5 billion in 2009 to $2.8 billion in 2020, according to analysts Lux Research.

A report - Filtering Out Growth Prospects in the $1.5 Billion Membrane Market - showed that reverse osmosis (RO) membranes are the largest technology, but ultrafiltration is set for fast growth.

The RO membrane market is expected to reach $1.3 billion by 2020 while ultrafiltration membranes are expected to witness a healthy 6.5% compound annual growth rate, expanding from $400 million in 2009 to nearly $700 million in 2020.

“The global water crisis isn’t going to go away by itself – governments, citizens and corporations will all have to work closely together,” said Young-ha Lee, president and CEO of the LG Electronics Home Appliance Company. “The water business has been growing by an annual rate of 15% so there’s an incentive for companies to invest in finding solutions."

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