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Hahn & Co-owned Hanon Systems may be put up for sale The pool of potential buyers for the auto parts maker could be small due to the deal size

Translated by Ryu Ho-joung 공개 2021-03-24 08:11:33

이 기사는 2021년 03월 24일 07:58 더벨 유료페이지에 표출된 기사입니다.

Private equity firm Hahn & Company may start looking for a buyer for Hanon Systems, with expectations rising that the time is ripe for the firm’s exit from the auto parts manufacturer after nearly six years of its investment.

Talks of the firm considering selling its stake in the automotive supplier have been going around since earlier this year. Hahn & Co acquired 69.99% of Hanon Systems, formerly known as Halla Visteon Climate Control Corp, in June 2015 for 3.94 trillion won ($3.49 billion), or 51,030 won per share, in partnership with Hankook Tire in a deal that valued the company at 5.63 trillion won.

Hahn & Co and Hankook Tire hold 50.5% and 19.49% stakes respectively. Shortly after the deal was completed, Hanon Systems announced a five-for-one stock split.

Expectations on the sale have strengthened after Hankuk Tire – which has the right to first refusal to buy Hahn & Co’s stake – reportedly refused a 17,000 won per share offer by Hahn & Co because of its weak financial situation.

Hanon Systems shares reached a high of 20,200 won in early January, before falling to 17,000 won earlier this month. They recently traded as high as 19,000 won, equivalent to almost twice what Hahn & Co paid for the company.

Hahn & Co made a partial exit from the company through two rounds of recapitalization and also received dividend payments on a regular basis. Hanon Systems’ payout ratio stands at 50%.

Observers are optimistic about the company’s outlook. Hanon Systems provides vehicle thermal and energy management solutions, a critical part of manufacturing electric vehicles. Among its customers are major automotive players such as Hyundai Motor Group and Volkswagen Group. It aims to increase its revenue to 10 trillion won by 2025.

But it is uncertain whether the company will draw sufficient interest from potential buyers, industry watchers said, given the estimated size of the deal. Kospi-listed Hanon Systems’ market capitalization surpassed 10 trillion won based on the closing price on Monday. The 69.99% stake held by Hahn & Co and Hankuk Tire is estimated to be worth about 10 trillion won including a control premium.

Global automakers and South Korean conglomerates with mobility ambitions, such as LG Group and SK Group, as well as global buyout firms have been mentioned as potential buyers for Hanon Systems. Hahn & Co is likely to prefer private negotiations, rather than an auction process, since the pool of potential buyers could be small, industry watchers said.

Hanon Systems announced a $1.23 billion bolt-on acquisition of Magna International’s fluid pressure and controls business in 2018. It has also invested 1.5 trillion won over the past six years to develop environment-friendly solutions.

The company is believed to have generated revenue of 6.8 trillion won last year. Its revenue is expected to increase to 7.4 trillion won this year. (Reporting by Si-eun Park)
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