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By Choi Kyong-ae
SEOUL, Dec. 4 (Yonhap) -- Kumho Asiana Group's plan to sell its airline unit Asiana Airlines Inc. appears to be on track for completion as planned, the group's main creditor bank said Wednesday.
Last month, the HDC Hyundai Development-Mirae Asset Daewoo consortium beat two consortia led by airline-to-cosmetics conglomerate Aekyung Group and homegrown private equity fund Korea Corporate Governance Improvement (KCGI), respectively, to acquire the controlling 31 percent stake in Asiana Airlines.
Kumho Industrial Co., which owns a 31 percent stake in Asiana Airlines Inc., is in negotiation to sell the airline by December as planned, state-run Korea Development Bank (KDB) Chairman Lee Dong-gull told reporters.
Kumho Industrial and the HDC-Mirae consortium are expected to sign a share purchase agreement in mid-December.
The HDC consortium submitted an overall acquisition price of 2.5 trillion won for the 31 percent stake, new shares to be issued and the airline's six affiliates, which include low-cost carriers Air Busan and Air Seoul Inc.
In the past two years, KDB helped find new owners for Kumho Tire Co. and Daewoo Shipbuilding & Engineering Co. (DSME), while signing a deal with General Motors Co. to help its South Korean unit GM Korea Co. stay afloat.
In July last year, Qingdao Doublestar Co. wrapped up a deal to acquire a 45 percent stake in Kumho Tire for 646.3 billion won from KDB. In March this year, Hyundai Heavy Industries Group signed a 2 trillion-won deal to take over a 55.7 percent stake in DSME from the state lender.
In May last year, GM and KDB signed a binding agreement that will permit a combined 7.7 trillion-won lifeline -- 6.9 trillion won from GM and 810 billion won from the lender -- to keep GM Korea afloat. GM owns a 77 percent stake in GM Korea.
Under the deal, GM is banned from selling any of its stake in GM Korea before 2023 and is required to keep its holding in the unit above 35 percent until 2028.