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SM Group joins race for SsangYong Motor Mid-tier conglomerate tries to take over ailing carmaker for the second time

Translated by Kim So-in 공개 2021-08-03 08:07:53

이 기사는 2021년 08월 03일 08:03 더벨 유료페이지에 표출된 기사입니다.

South Korea's mid-tier local conglomerate SM Group has officially joined a race to acquire a controlling stake in the country's ailing carmaker SsangYong Motor, 11 years after its previous failed attempt.

SM Group has decided to submit its letter of intent to EY Hanyoung, which is managing the sale of SsangYong, on July 30.

“SM Group chairman Woo Oh-hyun thought it was regrettable that Korea's oldest SUV maker was again in trouble with the corporate rehabilitation process despite several management changes in the past,” said an executive at SM Group. “Woo decided to participate in the deal to find ways to normalize SsangYong and contribute to the national and regional economy.”

U.S. vehicle importer HAAH Automotive Holdings and Korea-based electric bus manufacturer Edison Motors have also been mentioned as potential buyers, most of which are small and medium-sized enterprises or startups.

SM Group may be a game-changer in the race to take over the ailing carmaker. SM Group was put on the Fair Trade Commission’s watch list this year as a large business group with over 10 trillion won ($8.67 billion) in total assets. It is the 38th largest conglomerate in Korea.

SM Group’s participation comes as a surprise to some, but the company has been paying attention to SsangYong since 2010 when the carmaker was place under court receivership. Back then, the group had shown interest in acquiring SsangYong, but Indian car manufacturer Mahindra & Mahindra beat it out.

The group wanted to create synergies with its vehicle component production affiliates, including Namsun Aluminum, Bexel, and TK Chemical.

SsangYong recorded an operating loss of 449.4 billion won on a consolidated basis in 2020. In April, the carmaker was placed under court receivership for the second time after undergoing the same process 10 years ago.

SM Group has grown its shipping business through mergers and acquisitions, including the acquisitions of Korea Line and SM Line – formerly Hanjin Shipping's transpacific route assets – in 2013 and 2016 respectively. Korea Line and SM Line posted an operating profit of 145.9 billion won and 140.6 billion won on a consolidated basis in 2020. (Reporting by Gyoung-tae Kim)
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