SOUTH KOREA: Renault Samsung denies creditor stake buy-back
Renault Samsung Motors, the South Korean car manufacturing unit of France-based Renault, on Tuesday denied a local report saying it plans to buy back a 10% stake held by its creditors, according to Dow Jones.
The news agency said the Maeil Business Newspaper, citing Renault Samsung chief executive Jerome Stoll, reported, also on Tuesday, that the company plans to buy back its shares from creditors to strengthen its management control.
"CEO Stoll didn't 'officially' mention that the company plans to buy back the 10% stake owned by its creditors," Renault Samsung said in a statement cited by Dow Jones.
An official at Renault Samsung told Dow Jones Newswires on Tuesday that Stoll was responding to a hypothetical question from a reporter on whether the company would buy back the stake if creditors decided to sell it, but couldn't find a " friendly" buyer.
"It is not a matter that Renault Samsung or Renault can talk about at the present, given that the creditors haven't yet made any move toward a possible stake sale," the official told the news agency.
Renault Samsung, the smallest of South Korea's five automakers, has 16 creditors, all of which are domestic financial institutions, Dow Jones noted.
An official at Woori Bank, one of its creditors, told Dow Jones Renault Samsung's creditors currently have no plan to sell the stake which they obtained through a debt-to-equity swap for failed Samsung Motor in 2000 when Renault Samsung took over.
Renault Samsung also denied that it wants Renault group to buy the shares from the creditors on behalf of Renault Samsung, Dow Jones said.
"We have not discussed the group's share purchase with Renault nor do we plan to do so," Renault Samsung said in the statement cited by the news agency.
Renault owns a 70.1% stake in Renault Samsung, while Samsung Group affiliates own a 19.9% share and creditors own the remaining 10%, Dow Jones noted.