Final offers for Hyosung Capital expected soon

Hyosung Corporation is set to hold the final round of bidding for financing arm Hyosung Capital on August 28 as planned without allowing potential bidders more time, industry sources said on August 25.

The South Korean conglomerate shortlisted four potential buyers for Hyosung Capital a few weeks ago. Among them are Japanese financial services group ORIX and local private equity firms including BankerStreet and ST Leaders Private Equity.

The shortlisted bidders recently requested two more weeks to complete due diligence. But Hyosung Corporation decided to stick with the original plan because it needs to complete the sale by the end of December to comply with local regulations that forbid a non-financial holding company from owning a stake in a financial services company.

“Hyosung Corporation is aiming to close the deal as early as November,” a source said. “Its focus is on meeting the sale deadline.”

Expediting the sale process could buy more time for private equity bidders to raise funds needed for the acquisition. South Korean private equity firms typically can start raising money from investors after they secure a preferred buyer status unless they do not have active blind-pool funds.

ORIX is said to have been trying to partner with a private equity firm to make a joint bid for Hyosung Capital. Its first offer price was reportedly lower than those from private equity rivals. If ORIX forms a consortium in time, it could raise its offer in the final round of bidding, industry watchers said.

“At the beginning, Hyosung Corporation primarily targeted foreign strategic buyers. But now that some of them, including China’s Ping An, are not in the race any more it seems to be more open to other options,” an industry insider said. “This means the offer price could be a determining factor to winning the race.”

Hyosung Corporation reportedly wants a valuation of more than 1.2 times Hyosung Capital’s net assets. It is expected to select a preferred buyer and sign a deal before the end of September. (Reporting by Ik-hwan Choi)