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Jungheung looks to advance Daewoo E&C’s property development prowess

An exterior view of Daewoo E&C's headquarters in central Seoul. (Daewoo E&C)
An exterior view of Daewoo E&C's headquarters in central Seoul. (Daewoo E&C)
Jungheung Group said Tuesday it would advance the real estate development prowess of Daewoo Engineering & Construction, as the conglomerate aims to complete the acquisition of the South Korea‘s sixth-largest construction company within this year.

Once the proposed acquisition is complete, the Gwangju-based builder dedicated to housing construction, civil engineering and real estate development, will help Daewoo E&C diversify its business portfolio by strengthening the pillar of real estate development business for a “sustainable source of profit.”

The plan will allow Daewoo E&C, which has primarily focused on the construction business, including housing franchise Prugio, to engage in the whole process of property development, from buying land to financing real estate deals, building, renting out, managing the real estate asset and selling it.

“(Jungheung) will sit on the same side of the table with over 5,400 Daewoo E&C staff and executives to help (Daewoo E&C) open a new horizon as a property developer and manager, using its expertise in housing constructions, infrastructure projects and civil engineering as a base for a leap forward,” Jungheung Group said in a statement.

Jungheung Group, the country’s 47th-largest business, will also consider backing cross-border acquisitions of Daewoo E&C to strengthen its core capability in civil engineering and construction of drilling rigs or gas-liquefaction facilities in overseas projects.

The group also said its short-term financing through a bridge loan for the Daewoo E&C acquisition is likely to be repaid by 2022. It did not disclose the bid price for the acquisition.

The announcement came as Jungheung Group inched closer to acquiring the controlling stake at Daewoo E&C, joining forces with investment bank Mirae Asset Securities.

The investor consortium comprising Jungheung and Mirae Asset on Monday was selected as the preferred bidder for the acquisition, outbidding a contender comprising builder DS Networks and private equity firm SkyLake Equity Partners. Bank of America Merrill Lynch is the deal manager.

The preferred bidder is given the exclusive rights to negotiate with the seller, KDB Investment, which owns a 50.75 percent stake in Daewoo E&C.

The preferred bidder still has a long way to go before the deal is done.

A memorandum of understanding between Jungheung and KDB Investment must be signed. Additional due diligence must be underway before signing a sale and purchase agreement. The transaction must also be reviewed by the antitrust authorities in Korea.

Both the Jungheung-led consortium and KDB Investment aim to complete the transaction before the end of this year.

Shares of Daewoo E&C was trading 3.5 percent higher than the previous session’s closing price in early morning trade, and gave up its earlier gains at around noon to fall 2.5 percent on Tuesday. The company’s market capitalization stood at 3.2 trillion won ($2.8 billion).

Jungheung Group owns Herald Corp., publisher of The Korea Herald.

By Son Ji-hyoung (consnow@heraldcorp.com)
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