Lotte chairman attends lunch to sell IPO planned for June

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Lotte chairman attends lunch to sell IPO planned for June

Chairman Shin Dong-bin of Lotte Group attended a meeting with investment officers from asset management companies on Monday in the run-up to the public listing of Hotel Lotte, a hospitality unit and de facto holding company of Lotte Group.

The young tycoon rarely appears at such meetings.

The briefing, held at the Lotte Hotel in Sogong-dong, central Seoul, was designed to generate interest in the initial public offering (IPO) of Hotel Lotte among potential investors.

The unit submitted a securities report, required for the IPO, to the Financial Services Commission earlier this month to meet the timeline for the IPO, which is set for the end of June.

Shin cited transparency as a main benefit of going public.

“When we take Hotel Lotte public, it is no longer a private company,” Shin said, “It will become a publicly listed company. So [I] think of an open management system and will pursue transparent management, protection of the environment and corporate social responsibility.”

Lotte is trying to restore the group’s reputation after a family battle over control of the group exposed murky governance issues at the retail giant, which operates in both Korea and Japan.

Hotel Lotte was the target of criticism after it was disclosed that shares of the unlisted company were largely held by obscure units based in Japan that are controlled by the Shin family.

With the IPO, the proportion of shares held by the Japanese units is expected to be reduced to some 65 percent from 98 percent.

The hotel operator plans to give presentations to analysts, fund managers and potential investors abroad.

About 40 investment heads participated in the closed-door meeting on Monday.

Shin remained seated to the end of the event, which was a lunch with investors.

Song Yong-dok, CEO of Hotel Lotte, also explained prospects for its duty-free business. He expressed confidence that it will cement its position as the No. 1 duty-free shop operator, thanks to its savvy marketing strategy for Chinese tourists.

The company said it intends to raise up to 5.7 trillion won ($4.8 billion) through the IPO in June.

Most of the proceeds will be used as investment, according to the company. It will issue some 47.9 million shares, estimating the price per share to be between 97,000 won and 120,000 won.

Hotel Lotte is the de facto holding company of Korea’s retail giant, as it owns the largest stake in most of its major affiliates, including at Lotte Shopping, where it owns 8.83 percent. Hotel Lotte owns 5.92 percent of Lotte Chilsung and 3.21 percent of Lotte Confectionery.


BY PARK EUN-JEE [park.eunjee@joongang.co.kr]

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