3 bidders remain for stake in Asiana Airlines

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3 bidders remain for stake in Asiana Airlines

Three final bids have been received for the 31 percent stake in Asiana Airlines being sold by Kumho Industrial.

All three group submitting preliminary bids made the Thursday deadline for the final round.

The bidders are Aekyung Group and Stonebridge Capital; HDC Hyundai Development Company and Mirae Asset Daewoo; and KCGI and BankerStreet.

Aekyung Group, which controls Jeju Airline, has been most vocal in its desire for the shares. It said in a statement Wednesday that its acquisition of the stake will not only help raise the competitiveness of Korea’s airline industry in the global market but also contribute to the country’s economic development, including the development of the tourism industry.

It stressed that there is no precedent for companies with no experience in the business operating an airline, while it added that its control of Jeju Air means it is most qualified.

The cosmetics conglomerate said it has already come up with plans for normalizing the operations of Asiana Airlines in the process of conducting due diligence with Bain & Company. It expects to maximize synergy with its budget carrier.

Estimates suggest that Asiana as part of the Aekyung Group could become the largest Korean carrier.

A merger between Jeju Air and Asiana Airlines would have a 45 percent share for international flights and 48 percent for domestic flights.

Korean Air in the first half had a 19.1 percent share in terms of international passenger flights.

BY LEE HO-JEONG [lee.hojeong@joongang.co.kr]
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