Hite-Jinro ready to off-load Japanese unit to free up cash

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Hite-Jinro ready to off-load Japanese unit to free up cash

Hite-Jinro, Korea’s No. 1 beer and soju producer, said yesterday it is seeking to sell its Japanese subsidiary in a bid to secure cash and put its balance sheets in better shape.

Hite-Jinro is moving to sell its Japanese affiliate Jinro by issuing new shares and allocating them to a third party, the company said in a regulatory filing, adding that no details, including the issue date, have been fixed yet.

It currently owns 100 percent of the Japanese subsidiary, or 4,000 shares.

“[The sell-off] will give more leeway to the company’s Japanese businesses and improve the parent company’s financial health,” an official from the company said.

Market watchers said Hite-Jinro may sell off 49 percent of its stake in Jinro for an estimated 170 billion won ($156 million).

Hite-Jinro takes up 40 percent of Korea’s beer market and 50 percent of the local market for soju, the country’s distilled liquor.

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