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Creditors demand Kumho Petrochemical sell stake in Asiana

By Korea Herald

Published : Dec. 26, 2011 - 16:25

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Creditors demanded Kumho Petrochemical sell off its stake in Asiana Airlines to facilitate the petrochemical company’s separation from Kumho Asiana Group.

“We urged Kumho Petrochemical to dispose of some 14 million shares it holds in Asiana Airlines to meet the requirements for its separation from Kumho Asiana Group,” an official at one of the creditors said Monday.

For this, the creditors decided to remove the collateral on the 7.72 percent of the airliner’s common stocks, or some 14.13 million shares, held by Kumho Petrochemical.

The petrochemical company, however, insists that it will sell its stake in Asiana only after Kumho Asiana Group uses the money from its sale of stake in Kumho Petrochemical for paid-in capital increase, boding friction with the creditors.

Kumho Asiana chairman Park Sam-koo and his son sold off their stakes in Kumho Petrochemical earlier this month.

“It is our position to sell our stake in Asiana after confirming that the 400 billion won from the sale of chairman Park Sam-koo’s stake in Kumho Petrochemical is used for paid-in capital increase,” an official at Kumho Petrochemical said.

“We still have much time as we can apply for separation to the Fair Trade Commission in March next year. The creditors’ demand for immediate sale is just too much.”

He said that selling the shares now would cause massive financial losses as Asiana’s stock prices have continued to fall.

“The sale can be completed in a week once we designate a company to manage the sale. We should sell if after closely observing the stock market,” he said.

The creditors are also seeking to remove the ban on sale of shares until May 2013 placed during Kumho Asiana Group’s debt workout so they can sell some of the 5 million shares in Kumho Petrochemical which they recently obtained through conversion of convertible bonds.

Among creditors of Kumho Petrochemical, the Korean Development Bank wields the greatest voting right of 51.6 percent, followed by Woori Bank’s 12.4 percent, Kookmin Bank’s 9.6 percent, Nonghyup’s 6.1 percent, Shinhan Bank’s 4.6 percent, Hana Bank’s 4.1 percent, and Korea Export-Import Bank’s 2.5 percent.

Kumho Petrochemical chairman Park Chan-koo, brother of Park Sam-koo, was indicted earlier this month on charges of insider trading and embezzlement of some 30 billion won, and is now facing trial.

The planned split will separate Kumho Petrochemical Group, consisting of Kumho Petrochemical, Kumho Mitsui Chemicals and Kumho Polychem, from Kumho Asiana Group, with Kumho Industrial, Asiana Airlines, Kumho Tire and others under its wing.

By Kim So-hyun (sophie@heraldcorp.com)