South Korea’s state-run power provider Korea Electric Power Corp. said Friday that it has opened bids to sell the land that currently holds its headquarters in Seoul, a highly coveted property that it estimated to be worth 3.33 trillion won ($3.3 billion).
KEPCO said it will pick the buyer who offers the highest price through the bidding that will close on Sept. 17.
KEPCO’s stated value of the plot is much higher than the state-appraised price of 1.48 trillion won as of end of last year, as well as the book value of 2.07 trillion won.
The state energy agency is selling the land, measuring 79,342 square meters, as part of government-led efforts to reduce its mounting debts. The headquarters property, located in posh southern Seoul, is cited as one of the few remaining pieces of real estate in the capital that can be developed into a lucrative business location.
There are no restrictions on the bidders, but foreign participants can submit a bid only by joining a local consortium.
Their investment is also limited to a stake of less than 50 percent. Should the sales attempt fail twice, the bidding will then be opened to foreigners.
The bid winner can pay in three installments within a year from the day it is picked as the buyer, excluding a contract deposit, KEPCO said.
The energy company is set to relocate its headquarters to Naju, South Jeolla Province, in November.
Among potential buyers are the country’s top conglomerate, Samsung Group, Hyundai Motor Group and two foreigners ― Chinese property developer Greenland Group and U.S. casino and resort company Las Vegas Sands Corp.
Samsung has yet to reveal its stance on the deal, while Hyundai showed a strong will to buy the land to build a business complex.
KEPCO plans to cut its debts by 14.7 trillion won over the next three years in step with the government’s plan to normalize debt-ridden public companies and organizations.
KEPCO said it will keep its debt ratio, or the ratio of total debt to total assets, at 143 percent in 2017. The debt ratio can also be viewed as the proportion of a firm’s assets financed by debt.
The energy company also plans to expand its net profit to more than 2 trillion won by 2017. The company posted a net profit of 185.52 billion won last year, swinging to the black for the first time since 2007. (Yonhap)