Debt-ridden Doosan Group is accelerating plans for the sale of its cash cow Doosan Solus as part of a restructuring plan.
Doosan Group and Samil PwC, the manager of the sale, received letters of intent (LOI) from prospective buyers last week, sources familiar with the matter said on May 15. The interested parties have reportedly signed non-disclosure agreements and have started conducting due diligence. Doosan Group wants an enterprise value of around 1.5 trillion won ($1.2 billion) for Doosan Solus, based on the growth potential of its battery copper foil business.
The sale process has attracted close attention from the market, with major financial investors including Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR), Carlyle, Texas Pacific Group (TPG) and Baring Private Equity Asia reportedly joining the race. South Korean private equity firm SkyLake Investment, which was in negotiation with Doosan on a private sale, is still interested in the company, private equity industry sources said.
LG Group and Lotte Group are among strategic investors that are likely to participate. South Korea’s top secondary battery maker LG Chem is expected to create synergies with Doosan Solus’ newly established subsidiary in Hungary. Doosan Solus recently set up Doosan Energy Solution in Hungary, with an annual production capacity of 10,000 tons, and is ready to expand its production. Lotte Group, which joined a deal to acquire Japanese chemical manufacturer Hitachi Chemical last year, also reportedly has strong interest in Doosan Solus.
Doosan Group is expected to complete the sale of Doosan Solus swiftly to keep its rescue plan on track, investment banking industry sources said. Separately, the group is in talks to sell its real estate asset Doosan Tower to Mastern Investment Management. Doosan has also decided not to make any dividend payouts in the first quarter.
Observers said it remains to be seen how many of the prospective buyers will participate in the final round of bidding amid time pressures.
“The schedule for the sale is too tight to conduct due diligence on assets abroad, including its subsidiary in Hungary, due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” an industry source said. “It will be hard for [potential buyers] to decide whether they will complete the race if they aren’t able to conduct thorough due diligence.” (Reporting by Jo Se-hun)