UPDATE 3-SKIET shares plunge 25% after debuting at double IPO price

* Battery material maker IPO comes amid global EV shift

* Shares open at 210,000 won valuing firm at 15 trln won

* Price drops as much as 24.5% in early morning trade (Adds analyst comment, comparison with BTS manager)

SEOUL/HONG KONG May 11 (Reuters) - Battery material maker SK IE Technology Co Ltd (SKIET) saw its stock drop on Tuesday, after debuting at double the price set during an initial public offering (IPO) which set a South Korean record for institutional demand.

SKIET's shares opened at 210,000 won, valuing the manufacturer at about 15 trillion won ($13.44 billion).

However, the stock dropped soon after market open by as much as 24.5%, compared with a 1.5% fall in the KOSPI benchmark share price index.

Daishin Securities analyst Han Sang-won said the stock price was pushing SKIET's valuation well beyond that of peers, so some market participants were seeing the shares as overrated.

The listing comes as automakers worldwide increasingly add and even replace traditionally powered cars in their line ups with new-energy alternatives such as fully battery-powered electric vehicles.

SKIET supplies separators, a key component in lithium-ion batteries, to battery makers including parent SK Innovation Co Ltd, Samsung SDI Co Ltd, LG Energy Solution Ltd and Japan's Panasonic Corp.

Revenue from the material last year made up 56% of SKIET's total sales, accelerating from 19% in 2018.

The firm priced its IPO last month at 105,000 won per share, the top of its indicative price range. SK Innovation said the IPO's institutional book was almost 2,000 times covered - the largest-ever for South Korea.

SKIET's first-day stock market performance mirrored that of Hybe Co Ltd - formerly Big Hit Entertainment, and manager of K-Pop boy band BTS - whose share price doubled on debut in October before ending negative for the day.

Chief Executive Rho Jae-sok has said SKIET will use money raised through the sale of new shares for capital expenditure, with such spending topping 700 billion to 800 billion won annually for the next few years.

SKIET operates factories in South Korea and China. In March, it said it would spend about 1.13 trillion won building two plants in Poland.

($1 = 1,116.4300 won) (Reporting by Heekyong Yang in Seoul and Scott Murdoch in Hong Kong; Additional reporting by Jihoon Lee; Editing by Christopher Cushing)

05/11/2021 1:52

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