Samsung Group is considering selling off Samsung C&T shares owned by Samsung SDI to its bio technology partners, possibly global pharmaceutical companies, The Herald Business reported Monday.
The report came after South Korea’s Fair Trade Commission on Sunday said the group’s cross-shareholding among affiliates was strengthened following the Sept. 1 merger between Samsung C&T and Cheil Industries.
Citing the nation’s antitrust rules that prohibit conglomerates from creating a new circular ownership through equity investments, the watchdog ordered Samsung SDI, the battery unit, to unload 5 million or 2.6 percent shares in Samsung C&T, now the group’s de facto holding company, by the March 1 deadline.
Samsung said it would comply with the decision but could ask for a grace period to minimize the market impact.
The report said the shares could be purchased by partners of Samsung C&T’s pharmaceutical unit Samsung BioLogics, which makes biologic drugs for global drugmakers, as part of Samsung’s recent push into bio technology as its next growth engine.
Samsung Electronics vice chairman and the group’s heir apparent Lee Jae-yong had sought to extend ties with global partners in Samsung C&T’s bio and fashion businesses since the merger, the report added.
“Samsung could seek to unload not just the 2.6 percent shares but also all of Samsung C&T shares owned by other Samsung affiliates,” a source was quoted as saying.
“Several bidders have already expressed their intention to purchase.”
Currently, Samsung C&T shares are owned by three Samsung affiliates – Samsung Electro-Mechanics (2.64 percent), Samsung SDI (4.77 percent) and Samsung Life Insurance (1.38 percent) – and they are valued at about 2.53 trillion won.
By Lee Ji-yoon (email@example.com