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Conglomerates to implement self-help measures in new year

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Published : 2014-01-06 09:14
Updated : 2014-01-06 09:14

Leading business groups such as Hyundai are pushing forward self-help measures in the new year that involve selling of assets totaling trillions of won, industry sources said Monday.

Sources said conglomerates have set up special companies whose sole purpose is to sell assets and are beginning to conduct due diligence and trying to arrange block deals to liquidate nonessential holdings in order to generate cash reserves.

Hyundai Group is planning a paid-in capital increase for Hyundai Elevator Co., while Hanjin is moving to sell its shares in S-Oil Corp. Dongbu is also seeking a buyer for Dongbu HiTek Co., its computer chip foundry arm.

Industry watchers said for Hyundai, which announced a 3.3 trillion won ($3.12 billion) self-help plan on Dec. 22, the main focal point at the moment is to sell off its 1.34 million shares in KB Financial Group.

The conglomerate is in the process of handing over its three financial firms including Hyundai Securities Co. to a special purpose company so it can be sold on the market. Measures are under way to sell container yards and terminals operated by Hyundai Merchant Marines Co. not only in South Korea but in places like the United States, China and Singapore.

"Every effort will be made to sell off assets," said an official for Korea Development Bank, the main creditor for the troubled conglomerate.

The group needs to come up with about 1 trillion won in cash in the next few months to cover its debts.

Hanjin Group, meanwhile, wants to generate 2 trillion won through so-called block deals that would sell off redundant assets owned by Korean Air Lines Co. and Hanjin Shipping Co.

The conglomerate said it will sell its 30 million shares in S-Oil that could bring in 2.2 trillion won, get rid of 13 older passenger jets and liquidate unused real estate holdings such as shipping terminals.

Sales of S-Oil stocks are being negotiated with Saudi Aramco, the world largest oil producer, which is already the main shareholder of the local oil company. Hanjin hopes this sale will be concluded in the first quarter of this year.

For Dongbu, who announced a 3 trillion won revival plan in November and outlined a blueprint to "graduate" from its financial structure improvement scheme by 2015, it is in the process of conducting due diligence on assets that can generate revenue.

Besides its foundry operation, the conglomerate wants to sell off Dongbu Metal Co., the Incheon plant belonging to Dongbu Steel, and shares in a power generation plant in Dangjin, South Chungcheong Province.

The company needs to come up with more than 600 billion won this year to cover its debts.

Related to the sale of Dongbu HiTek, three or four companies have expressed interest, including SK Telecom Co. and POSCO. The foundry company makes system chips that are in high demand. (Yonhap News)

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