[THE INVESTOR] Kumho Asiana Group Chairman Park Sam-koo on March 14 said he will file a lawsuit against Kumho Tire’s creditors for blocking its right to repurchase the former tire-making affiliate.
“We have continuously asked (the creditors) to allow us to set up a consortium for exercising our rights of first refusal,” Kumho Asiana Group said in a statement. “But the Korea Development Bank unilaterally decided not to allow it, without putting the matter to discussion or vote at the shareholders meeting.”
The group said it decided to take legal action against the creditors, claiming KDB, one of leading creditor banks in the sale, has not officially notified Kumho Asiana Group of its decision to prevent forming a consortium, and only disclosed it to the media.
The nation’s No.2 tire maker was put under the control of creditors in 2009 due to a liquidity crisis caused by the group’s excessive business expansion.
During that time, Park was granted the rights of first refusal in the sell-off that allows him to buy back the stake by paying more than the highest bidder.
Earlier on March 13, Chinese tire maker Qingdao Doublestar entered into a stock trade agreement with the creditors to take over a controlling 42.01 percent stake in Kumho Tire for 955 billion won (US$833.63 million).
The creditors will officially deliver the sale and purchase agreement to Park this week. The chief has 30 days to decide whether he will practice his rights by offering more than Doublestar, or drop out from the bid.
Park expressed his strong intention to give up his rights the previous day, if he is not permitted to form a consortium with strategic investors to finance the buyout.
But the KDB hasn’t changed its stance, still requiring the chief to finance the sale through financial investors.
By Ahn Sung-mi (firstname.lastname@example.org)