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Sale process of Asiana Airlines to begin this week

Creditors and Kumho Industrial, the largest stakeholder of Asiana Airlines, will post a public notice to sell the nation’s second-largest air carrier on Thursday, which is likely to be the largest deal of the year.

After completing a financial review of the air carrier, creditors said they would speed up the bidding process, if no additional insolvent factors or problems that would complicate the company’s operations are found. Officials at Asiana Airlines confirmed that there’s going to be an announcement this week, but said they have not been informed yet about the plan from creditors.


After sending the invitation for tenders, creditors are expected to confirm a preliminary list in September and select a preferred bidder in November. The deal is likely to close within this year, with the preferred bidder acquiring 31.06 percent shares held by Kumho Industrial as well as additional shares to be issued through a capital increase.

The sale of Asiana Airlines will be carried out together with its subsidiaries Air Busan and Air Seoul. The air carrier with its two low-cost carriers are likely to be sold for between 1 trillion won ($848.50 million) and 2 trillion won. The market has been raising concerns that the debt size of Asiana Airlines will be much larger than its deal price. In addition, fresh investments will be needed to revitalize its operations such as purchases of new aircrafts.

The list of potential bidders includes South Korean conglomerates, namely SK, Hanwha, Lotte, CJ and GS, though they have been denying their interest in the bid.

Aekyung Group which operates Jeju Air, a budget airline, is also reviewing the bid, according to reports and market observers, as well as Kumho Petrochemical, a company led by former Kumho Asiana Group Chairman Park Sam-koo’s brother, which holds an 11.98 percent stake in the air carrier.

By Cho Chung-un (