Chinese firm buys into Korean hotel developer

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Chinese firm buys into Korean hotel developer


China Minsheng Investment Corp., the biggest private investor in China, will invest 180 billion won ($157 million) in Emerson Pacific, a Korean resort and hotel developer, the largest-ever investment made by the firm in a Korean company.

The investment is from CM International Capital Ltd., a subsidiary of the corporation, representatives from Emerson said Sunday.

Established in May 2014, the Chinese corporation has about 50 billion yuan ($7.8 billion) in capital and invests in finance, airline businesses and real estate worldwide. The corporation was set up with investments by about 60 private Chinese companies, including China Minsheng Bank.

In May this year, China Minsheng Investment established a joint venture dubbed Zhongmin International Financial Leasing, offering various deposit and loan products, with KEB Hana Bank, a local bank in Korea. In July, it acquired Sirius International Insurance Group, a European reinsurer, for $2.2 billion.

The investment in Emerson is the company’s first in a Korean company and also the highest investment in a listed firm in Korea for a company that doesn’t get management rights.

With the investment, CM International Capital Ltd. will become the second-largest shareholder of Emerson, holding about 5.47 million shares in the company. That is only one share less than that of the largest shareholder, Jungang DNL, which is owned by Emerson Pacific CEO Lee Man-kyu.

Lee said he expects the investment to boost expansion.

“Based on the networks of China Minsheng Investment, we will expand our resort businesses not only in China but in other Asian countries such as Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia,” Lee said. “We expect our experiences and know-how in real estate development and resort management to produce synergy in China through the partnership with them.”

Started in 1987, Emerson Pacific is a leading resort developer in Korea, operating golf courses and hotels including Hilton Namhae Golf & Spa Resort in Namhae County, South Gyeongsang, and several Ananti golf clubs in the country.

It is planning an opening ceremony for another Hilton Hotel in Busan and the Ananti Penthouse Haeundae, a resort composed of luxury penthouse rooms on the Haeundae coast of Busan.

After the investment from China, Emerson is hoping to triple its sales from the current level, the company said. In 2014, it recorded about 47.2 billion won in sales and 10.1 billion won in operating profit.

BY LEE HYUN-TAEK, KIM HEE-JIN [kim.heejin@joongang.co.kr]

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