The Korea Electric Power Corp (Kepco) has refused the government’s demand to sell the company’s headquarters in Samseong-dong, southern Seoul.
Kepco is scheduled to move its headquarter to Naju, South Jeolla in 2012 as part of the government’s policy to disperse public corporations to regions at a distance from the capital.
The government requires organizations that are moving to outlying regions to sell their buildings before they leave. Kepco, one of the biggest public corporations to move, is opposed to the policy.
The company is claiming that it can’t just sell the building and the lot it stands on, because the facility has a large electric substation.
It has another reason, too. When a company sells off its assets, especially big ones, the interests of the shareholders are the most important consideration, since Kepco is listed in the stock market.
It should be the management of the company, and its shareholders, who decide when to sell assets, not the government.
The company intends to avoid selling its headquarters for as long as possible.
If Kepco does not sell the building, other public companies, including Korea National Housing Corp. and Korea Land Corp., are ready to decline the government’s demand to sell their buildings in the capital.
Most of the public companies that are scheduled to move their headquarters to the provinces would probably prefer to stay in the capital. Moving the headquarters of companies that have experienced no problems operating in the capital is inefficient. Employees at these organizations will not be happy about having to relocate from where they and their families live.
All this chaos has ensued because the government forced the organizations to move in order to achieve equal development between Seoul and other regions, without considering the characteristics of the organizations and how efficient these moves might be.
Those selected by the government to relocate will try to avoid selling their headquarter buildings until the Roh Moo-hyun administration has finally expired.
This shows how unreasonable the government’s policy is. Relocating public organizations does not guarantee the revival of non-capital regions.
The controversy and anger about relocation will intensify and the waste and inefficiency this causes will have to be paid for with taxpayers’ money.