Supreme Court overturns ruling against Doosan Infracore

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Supreme Court overturns ruling against Doosan Infracore

A Doosan Infracore excavator [DOOSAN INFRACORE]

A Doosan Infracore excavator [DOOSAN INFRACORE]

 
Korea’s Supreme Court on Thursday ruled in favor of Doosan Infracore in a lawsuit filed by a group of financial investors over the failed initial public offering of the company’s Chinese unit.

 
The Supreme Court overturned the original ruling that demanded Doosan Infracore, a construction equipment firm, pay 10 billion won ($9.1 million) to investors for not providing sufficient information ahead of the attempted listing of Doosan Infracore China (DICC), which failed to go public.
 
The court sent the case back to a lower court for retrial, smoothing the path for the ongoing sale of Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction’s stake in Doosan Infracore.
 
“It is difficult to say that Doosan Infracore’s noncompliance with the plaintiff’s request to provide information was interference in meeting [the promised] conditions,” said the court.
 
In 2011, a consortium of investors, including Mirae Asset Private Equity and Hana Financial Investment, took out loans to acquire a 20 percent stake in DICC for 380 billion won on the condition they retrieve the investment after the Chinese unit goes public within three years.
 
DICC failed to go public due to poor earnings and the financial investors tried to exercise their drag-along rights to sell their 20 percent stake and Doosan Infracore’s 80 percent stake in DICC without success.  
 
The investors argue the sale wasn’t successful because Doosan refused to provide necessary information on DICC to potential buyers, while Doosan claims it could not reveal the information unless it was sure potential buyers were serious.
 
The investors ended up taking the issue to court, saying that the company didn’t cooperate in efforts to sell the shares.
 
Thursday’s ruling could give Doosan Infracore a win in another lawsuit filed by the investors in 2018, demanding the company pay 700 billion won in compensation — the amount that they would have earned including compound interest — for the same reason. The trial hasn’t proceeded yet.
 
Due to the unresolved litigation, some of the preliminary bidders that had been interested in acquiring Doosan Heavy Industries’ stake in Doosan Infracore eventually backed out of the deal.  
 
Hyundai Heavy Industries Holdings, which formed a consortium with KDB Investment, was named the preferred bidder for the deal last month.  
 
KDB Investment is a subsidiary of the state-run Korea Development Bank.  
 
The consortium plans to sign the deal to purchase Doosan Heavy Industries’ stake in Doosan Infracore within this month, according to Hyundai Heavy Industries Holdings.
 
With uncertainties lifted, shares of Doosan Infracore shot up 7 percent during intraday trading on Thursday. It closed at 8,640 won, up 1.77 percent from the previous day.
 
BY JIN MIN-JI   [jin.minji@joongang.co.kr]
 
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