Venerable apparel manufacturer, Cheil Industries, has changed its industry code from textiles to chemicals, reflecting the increasing share of its chemical division.

The company, founded in 1954 and the parent company of the Samsung Group, is increasingly expanding into new markets - its textile business dwindled to 13 per cent of the company's total output last year.

The new business division, which includes engineering plastics, accounted for 43 per cent of its total turnover of 564.4bn won ($473.5m). Cheil is also turning to the information and communications businesses, including semiconductors, cellular phones and computers.

The company has developed world-class technologies in the chemical, information and communications industries. It captured 42 per cent of the world's total in the ABS synthetic market, outperforming General Electric of the United States.

Cheil moved into the information and communications area this year and currently manufactures products in nine categories.

With the company aiming to register 1 trillion won in output and 250bn won ($210m) in annual profits by 2005, the high tech sector will become the firm's primary division. "Our aim in the 21st century is to be a world-class electronic, chemical, and global fashion leader," said Park Sang-ik, a manager at Cheil.

The company posted 563.4bn won ($472.4m) in total output of its chemical division and 512.8bn ($430m) and 218.6bn won ($183m) of its fashion and fabric businesses, respectively, last year. This year, Cheil's sales volume is projected to increase to 1.69 trillion won ($1.4bn), including the 688bn ($577m) and 700bn won ($587m) of its chemical and fashion divisions.