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KCC likely to bid in Hynix on Hyundai’s behalfBy 양승진
Published : July 7, 2011 - 17:08
STX Group also continues to express interest to the last minute
By Kim Ji-hyun and Choi He-suk
KCC Corp., a member of Hyundai’s sprawling industrial empire, may submit its letter of intent for a stake in Hynix Semiconductor, industry sources said on Thursday.
Reports of KCC’s intention to participate in the bidding came shortly after Hyundai Heavy Industries said it would not be participating in the bidding.
“Hyundai Heavy’s decision to pull out appears to be a part of the calculation to make sure that another member of the Hyundai family gets its hands on Hynix, while throwing the other potential bidders off the scent,” said one industry watcher who declined to be identified.
Thursday marks the deadline for receiving letters of intent for a 15 percent share in Hynix.
KCC officials reportedly said the group was not interested in the bid.
Thanks to the remarkable recovery it achieved by overcoming crises in 2001 and 2007, Hynix has been cited as a company worth acquiring, especially for the Hyundai family, such as KCC.
STX is another group that may have a chance at Hynix, as vice chairman Lee Jong-chul hinted that the company will go to some lengths to remain in the race once a decision is made.
“There are parts we know about, and those we have doubts about, but if those are resolved through the due diligence, (the company) will go all the way,” Lee said. The group, whose operations are centered on shipbuilding, has been in talks with a Middle Eastern state-run fund regarding the Hynix deal for a month, Lee said. He added that the Middle Eastern party first came to STX Group with the suggestion that it will act as a financial investor in a potential bid for Hynix.
“If we acquire the company after the due diligence, (the group) will use existing cash assets and (raise funds) by selling some assets.”
Lee declined to name the Middle Eastern fund, he said that it has been working with STX Group for three or four years, and that if the deal goes through the group will acquire more than 50 percent of the stakes involved to gain management rights.
Regarding the assets the group will sell to raise funds for the takeover, Lee declined to go into details saying only that the group will sell “strong assets favored in the market.”
Lee also said while the group is not viewing semiconductors as the more profitable area, it was deemed that reducing the proportion of its portfolio accounted for by shipping and shipbuilding industries was the less risky option.
The huge investment required for maintaining sustainable growth at the semiconductor manufacturer is a big part of why potential bidders are skeptical about acquiring Hynix.
Hyundai Heavy Industries had estimated that up to 60 trillion won may be needed over the next decade into Hynix to maintain its competitiveness.
The semiconductor business requires considerable technological investment, especially as companies are rolling out better caliber nano-technologies each year.
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“현대중공업이 발을 빼면서 현대가 이미지가 약한 KCC가 뛰어들어 하이닉스를 가져가려고 하는 것 같다,”고 한 관계자가 전했다.
정치적인 이해관계도 KCC 인수전 참여와 관계가 있는 것으로 전해지고 있다.
한나라당 정몽준 의원이 차기 대통령 후보로 떠오르고 있는 가운데, 대놓고 현대가에 하이닉스를 주기는 어려울 것으로 보고 KCC를 앞세웠다는 추측이다.
KCC 관계자들은 인수설을 부인했다.
하이닉스는 1983년 현대전자로 출발해 1999에는 LG 반도체를 흡수합병하고 2001에 하이닉스로 전환했다.
2001과 2007년에 두 차례 큰 위기를 넘긴 하이닉스는 “괜찮은 매물”로 평가 받고 있다.
하이닉스를 노리는 또 다른 기업으로는 STX그룹이 있다.
STX 그룹 이종철 부회장은 어제 하이닉스 인수전 참여에 대한 조회공시 답변 이후 가진 기자간담회에서 “현재의 조선,해운 중심의 사업구조를 다변화할 필요성을 오래전부터 생각해 왔으며 하이닉스 인수가 그룹의 포트폴리오를 탈바꿈시킬 계기가 될 것으로 본다"고 말했다.
자금 조달 측면에서 STX는 경영권을 갖는 범위 내에서 중동 국부펀드와 50:50으로 투자할 계획이라고 밝혔다.
이 부회장은 “자금 조달은 현금성 자산(3조원)과 처분 가능한 우량 자산을 매각해서 조달할 것”이라며 “무차입으로 인수를 추진할 예정”이라고 강조했다.
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