HDC-Asiana Airlines deal faces long delay Deal closing deadline likely to extend

Translated by Ryu Ho-joung 공개 2020-06-26 08:00:02

이 기사는 2020년 06월 26일 08:00 더벨 유료페이지에 표출된 기사입니다.

Hyundai Development Company (HDC)’s acquisition of Asiana Airlines faces a long delay as the construction company is trying to renegotiate the deal in the COVID-19 environment.

HDC signed an agreement in December 2019 to acquire Kumho Industrial’s stake in Asiana Airlines, which is South Korea’s second-largest carrier offloaded by then cash-strapped Kumho Asiana Group in its restructuring efforts. Both sides at that time agreed to close the deal by June 27, while the deadline can reportedly be extended as long as six months depending on regulatory approval.

However, little progress has been made during last few months in further discussions between HDC and the airline’s creditors led by the state-run Korea Development Bank (KDB) – which is HDC’s de facto negotiating counterparty – as the environment has changed significantly since Covid-19 started to take hold.

As the deal deadline approached, KDB last month sent HDC a certified request that the company make its position on the acquisition clear. In response, HDC on June 9 released a statement saying, “There is no change in our intention to take over Asiana Airlines.”

But the “acquisition terms must be renegotiated from square one,” HDC said, adding that for that reason it agrees with the idea of extending the deal closing deadline.

HDC also argued that “despite its efforts” to close the deal by the deadline, Asiana Airlines’ poor disclosure of information resulted in the necessity to take a fresh look at the acquisition. It said serious issues unpredictable at the time the deal was signed have been found, such as a large increase in debt recognized in the airline’s annual report at the end of 2019 and an external auditor’s negative opinion with the airline’s internal accounting control system.

KDB released a statement on June 17 to dispute that HDC’s arguments were not entirely based on a perspective of the facts. Since then the two sides have remained silent.

Industry watchers said that the delay in the deal closing was largely expected. The moves by KDB and HDC are seen as a fight to have an edge in future renegotiations, they added.

“Both a group of Asiana Airline’s creditors and HDC appear to be willing to renegotiate but have difficulties finding a breakthrough,” a source with knowledge of the deal said. “The deadline set on June 27 will eventually be extended and the deal closing will likely be delayed for a long time.”

Another source said, “The two sides reportedly continue to communicating with each other in written form but no agreement has been reached. Any decision could take longer than expected especially in this Covid-19 environment.”

(Reporting by Hee-yeon Han)
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