Samsung SDI, the world's largest smartphone battery maker, said Monday it would absorb an affiliate producing electronic chemical materials, in the latest restructuring of the giant Samsung Group.
The firm said it would complete the merger with Cheil Industries by July 1 through a stock swap. Both firms are units of Samsung Group, South Korea's largest business conglomerate.
It follows various other restructuring efforts that have fuelled speculation that Samsung Electronics chairman Lee Kun-Hee, 72, is preparing to hand over control to his children -- a third generation transfer in the family-run group.
Lee's son Jay Y. Lee is Samsung Electronics vice chairman, and his two daughters both hold senior positions.
Samsung SDI said the merger would help it become a global player in energy and materials. It also hopes to expand its share in rechargeable batteries for electric vehicles.
"It will help us expand our business portfolio into batteries for electric vehicles and other new areas," the company said in a statement.
The merged company will have annual sales of more than 10 trillion won ($9.37 billion), Samsung SDI said, targeting more than 29 trillion won in sales by 2020.