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(LEAD) Hyundai heir apparent buys Hyundai Motor, Mobis stocks to boost prices

Autos 20:43 March 23, 2020

(ATTN: UPDATES with more details from para 2)

SEOUL, March 23 (Yonhap) -- Hyundai Motor Group's heir apparent Chung Euisun on Monday bought 19 billion won (US$15 million) worth of stocks in two key affiliates to prop up their declining prices.

Hyundai Motor Executive Vice Chairman Chung Euisun purchased 139,000 shares of Hyundai Motor Co., South Korea's No. 1 carmaker, and 72,552 shares of Hyundai Mobis Co., a leading auto parts producer, before the stock market closed on Monday, the companies said in separate regulatory filings.

Chung bought the two companies' stocks for 19 billion won -- Hyundai Motor stocks at 68,435 won per share and Hyundai Mobis shares at 130,789 won a share -- they said. This gives him 1.86 percent stake in the flagship motor company, with his holdings in Hyundai Mobis reaching 0.08 percent.

He was named president of both companies last year and took on the role of head of Hyundai Motor's board of directors this year, making him the top decision maker in the automotive conglomerate.

Hyundai Motor and Mobis stocks have suffered sharp declines recently due to the growing impact of the coronavirus outbreak on the group's mainstay automobile businesses.

"The purchase of shares should be seen as Chung taking responsibility of the company at a time of uncertainty," a corporate source said.

Last week, Hyundai suspended its U.S. plant in Georgia after an employee was diagnosed with the COVID-19 virus, and this week, the company halted its plant in Chennai in India due to the local government's measures to fight the virus that has spread across the world.

The spreading coronavirus is widely expected to impact the automotive group's production facilities and sales for the rest of the year, although the company said it will ramp up production of its popular models, like the Palisade SUV, to make up for lost sales. It said that in the next three years, it will spend 3-4 trillion won on research and development to build up its capabilities.

On Monday, Hyundai Motor fell 3.1 percent to 68,900 won, and Hyundai Mobis declined 5 percent to 133,500 won, in line with the broader KOSPI's 5.3 percent loss.

This is down sharply from 135,500 won and 239,000 won per share, respectively, on Feb. 17.

Hyundai Motor Group Executive Vice Chairman Chung Euisun (Yonhap)

kyongae.choi@yna.co.kr
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