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September 3, 2009

SOUTH KOREA: Private equity firm eyes Ssangyong

A Seoul-based private equity group has said that it is considering buying a stake in troubled carmaker Ssangyong.

A Seoul-based private equity group has said that it is considering buying a stake in troubled carmaker Ssangyong.

Reports suggests that the firm – Seoul Invest – could take a 51% stake in Ssangyong and is prepared to pay as much as Won400bn (US$320m) for a majority shareholding.

Park Yoon-bae, the fund’s president, said: “We have reviewed the possibility of Ssangyong’s revival for the past three months and have become convinced of its viability.

“Many of the investors we are talking to are still pessimistic of Ssangyong’s future but we’re trying to persuade them.”

The Financial Times said that the news pushed up Ssangyong’s shares by the daily limit of 15 per cent to Won4,055.

Ssangyong has to submit a turnaround plan to a Seoul court by the middle of this month at which point the court will decide whether Ssangyong can continue as a going concern or whether its assets should be liquidated on behalf of creditors.

Mr Park reportedly said the fund would be able to make Ssangyong viable by improving labour management relations and exporting low-cost vehicles to emerging markets in Asia.

He estimated that the fund would have to invest an additional Won400bn-Won500bn in developing Ssangyong’s new cars if it succeeded in taking over the carmaker, the FT reported.

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