CJ will not announce a finance plan

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CJ will not announce a finance plan

CJ Group said on Tuesday it will not release an official investment plan for this year, following anemic investment last year and its chairman’s prison sentence and poor health.

This is the first time in 10 years that the food, retail and entertainment group did not announce an annual plan.

An appeals court last year sentenced Chairman Lee Jay-hyun to three years in prison for financial crimes, but the sentence was suspended due to his deteriorating health. He has since appealed to the Supreme Court.

“It’s true that we won’t announce any investment initiatives this year due to the absence of the chairman,” a representative of CJ Group said in an interview. “Every year, we release an official statement around Jan. 15, but this year there won’t be any announcements.”

Boosted by the popularity of K-pop and culture abroad, CJ embarked on an aggressive investment drive in 2012 and 2013, expanding to more than 2 trillion won ($1.8 billion).

But in 2014, it suspended investments worth 500 billion won. CJ initially decided to spend 2.4 trillion won, but it reduced the amount to 1.9 trillion won.

Its planned mergers and acquisitions are all on hold. CJ O Shopping, a TV home shopping network, was previously planning to expand and CJ Foodville was in the process of establishing more branches of its Bibigo Korean food chain in the United States. But there has been no progress in negotiations for either deal.

Last year, CJ Express, the group’s delivery branch, was scheduled to build a new logistics center, but the plan was stalled, as was the overseas expansion of the theater chain CGV.

The group also canceled a deal to build a theme park in Busan last May after signing an agreement with the Busan Metropolitan Corporation.

By PARK EUN-JEE [ejpark@joongang.co.kr]
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