중앙데일리

Lots of Zeroes Needed to Add Up Hyundai Help

Banks Omitted Non-Won Loans in Calculating

Apr 23,2001
Debt-ridden subsidiaries of the Hyundai Group received 2.28 trillion won ($1.74 billion) in new loans from their creditor banks since the conglomerate's construction unit plunged into a liquidity crisis last May, the Financial Supervisory Service said Sunday.

Hyundai Engineering & Construction Co. has received 1.21 trillion won, while Hynix Semiconductor Inc. received 800 billion won. Hyundai Petrochemical Co. got 115 billion won and Hyundai Merchant Marine Co. 150 billion won. In addition to the new lending, banks have provided 2.9 trillion won by converting the builder's debts into shares, and rolled over a total of 1.99 trillion won of maturing loans to the construction, chipmaker and shipping units. They also refinanced 1.38 trillion won of maturing bonds issued by the three and the Hyundai petrochemical firm. In all, financial aid to the Hyundai subsidiaries since last May is nearly 11 trillion won. The creditors' rollover of Hyundai Construction's debts was 735.8 billion won, more than double the amount announced by heads of the banks on April 10. "It seems that lenders omitted foreign currency-denominated loans for facility financing when they made the announcement," said an official at the financial watchdog.

Despite the huge new funding, creditors' efforts to rescue Hyundai units have hit a snag. Saloman Smith Barney, Hynix's financial advisor, has requested lenders to extend the maturities of more debts and provide an additional 1 trillion won in new loans so that the chipmaker can attract 1.8 trillion won of foreign capital by the end of June.

Creditors are lukewarm. "It is just too difficult," said an official at a creditor bank, "to give new loans and roll over debts again." Korea Exchange Bank, the chip manufacturer's main creditor, plans to hold a meeting of lenders Tuesday to discuss the request.

Banks are at odds with local investment trust companies over the proposed debt-equity swap at Hyundai Construction. Banks want investment trusts to participate in the debt-equity conversion, but trust firms are adamantly oppose doing so, arguing that their customers object.

The Financial Supervisory Service also asked the trusts for "cooperation," but investment trust firms refused to do so and demanded a formal written government request in an attempt to hold Seoul responsible in case of a disaster.



by Chung Sun-gu




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