The Korea Herald


Speculations rise over Park Sam-koo and Kumho Tire

By Korea Herald

Published : July 14, 2016 - 10:22

    • Link copied

[THE INVESTOR] The news of Kumho Tire creditors seeking a buyer for their stake is fueling speculations about Kumho Asiana Group chairman Park Sam-koo’s future course of action.

Park holds pre-emption rights, and he has been working on rebuilding the group that was fragmented due to financial troubles in the late 2000s.

However, the massive figures associated with Kumho Tire sale have prompted speculations that Park’s plans for the company may be difficult to achieve.

Kumho Asiana Group chairman Park Sam-koo / The Investor Kumho Asiana Group chairman Park Sam-koo / The Investor

Kumho Tire currently 42.01 percent held by the creditors -- the largest being Woori Bank, followed by Korea Development Bank and KB Kookmin Bank. At market value, the combined stake is worth about 660 billion won (US$576 million).

However, market watchers say that the actual sale price is likely to be much higher considering that acquiring the creditors’ stakes would give the buyer control over the company.

Although the company’s market capitalization stands at about 1.56 trillion won, local news outlets have put the likely price at “minimum of 1 trillion won” to as much as 1.5 trillion won, citing unnamed sources.

Pundits say that Park may have difficulties in raising such large sums, and being unable to transfer the pre-emption rights, may choose to enter the biddings instead. In granting pre-emption rights to Park, the creditors added a clause preventing him from transferring the rights to a third party.

Entities that have been linked to the deal include Bridgestone and Michelin.
By Choi He-suk (