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Creditors to receive final bids to sell stake in Kumho Tire

All News 10:53 January 11, 2017

By Kim Kwang-tae

SEOUL, Jan. 11 (Yonhap) -- Creditor banks will receive the final bids to sell Kumho Tire Co., South Korea's second-biggest tire company by sales, this week, the main creditor bank Korea Development Bank said Wednesday.

The tiremaker's creditors led by KDB are set to receive the final bids from interested companies Thursday. One Indian and four Chinese firms have submitted preliminary bids, according to a person with direct knowledge of the deal.

Nine creditors hold a combined 42.01 percent stake in Kumho Tire, with Woori Bank and KDB holding 14 percent and 13.5 percent, respectively.

The final auction comes after Kumho Tire graduated from a debt rescheduling program in 2014. The tire company was placed under a creditors-led workout program five years earlier because its parent Kumho Asiana Group was hit hard by a severe liquidity crunch from the purchase of Daewoo Engineering and Construction Co.

Kumho Asiana Chairman Park Sam-koo holds a key in the stake sale as he has the "right of first refusal," which gives its holder the option to enter a business transaction with the owner of the stake, according to specific terms.

Park holds the right in the capacity of an individual. He can exercise the right should he accept the offer price from the creditors, which could reach around 1 trillion won (US$833 million).

Park, who holds no stake in Kumho Tire, said in his message for the new year that he wanted to take over Kumho Tire in order to rebuild his business empire. He did not elaborate on how he will finance the deal.

"Park plans to exercise his right of first refusal, though the key is the price," a Kumho Asiana official said. He asked not to be identified, citing the issue's sensitivity.

In the January-September period, Kumho Tire's net losses widened to 54.9 billion won from 32.97 billion won a year earlier. Operating profit also plunged to 65.3 billion won from 93.2 billion won during the same period, with sales down 4.4 percent year-on-year to 2.16 trillion won.

Creditors to receive final bids to sell stake in Kumho Tire - 1

Separately, the KDB plans to accept final bids next month to sell creditors' stake in Hyundai Cement. Creditors hold a combined 84.56 percent stake in the cement company. KDB owns 17.47 percent of it.

About six companies reportedly joined the preliminary bid for Hyundai Cement, whose debt workout program is scheduled to end at the end of this year.

KDB also plans to begin the sale process of Daewoo Engineering and Construction in March or April if auditors accept the builder's annual earnings reports as proper.

The sale process to sell Daewoo E&C has been suspended as auditors refused to give any view over the builder's third-quarter results last year. Due diligence has yet to be conducted.


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