A consortium of Hyundai Heavy Industries Holdings (HHI Holdings) and Korea Development Bank Investment has finally been named as the preferred bidder for a controlling stake in Doosan Infracore, but the deal is still not certain to go ahead.
Doosan Group has entered into exclusive talks with the consortium for a 36.07% stake, now held by Doosan Heavy Industries and Construction (DHIC), industry sources said. The cash-strapped South Korean company reportedly aims to seal a deal by the end of this month.
Doosan Infracore is expected to begin separating assets that will remain in Doosan Group, including subsidiary Doosan Bobcat, while taking care of contingent liabilities involving Doosan Infracore China Co (DICC), which has been in legal battles with financial investors. They will be held by a new entity within Doosan Group that will later be merged with DHIC.
The assets spin-off and merger require approvals from shareholders of both Doosan Infracore and DHIC. However, DHIC’s shareholders might not want to accept DICC’s potential liabilities, which could be as high as 1 trillion won ($915.7 million) if DICC loses. Doosan also needs consent from all parties involved in the litigation for its actions.
There could be disagreement between shareholders of DHIC and Doosan Infracore about the valuation of the post-spin-off entity that will be merged with DHIC, as well as the merger ratio. The merger must be approved by at least two-thirds of shareholders in attendance and then also requires consent from debt-holders.
Antitrust regulators are also likely to challenge HHI Holdings’ acquisition of Doosan Infracore because the deal would increase its share of the heavy equipment market to 60%.
Some observers expect that it will take at least two to three months for these obstacles to be cleared. But others warn a delay in the sale process is likely. (Reporting by Hye-ran Kim)