SM Group is reportedly tapping strategic and financial investors through a bidding process after putting 18-hole public golf course Oxfield Country Club (CC) up for sale.

SM Hiplus, an affiliate of SM Group, is distributing investment memorandum to potential buyers that have signed non-disclosure agreement, industry sources said on Thursday (November 12). Samil PwC is leading the sale process.

The seller will hold the preliminary round of bidding on November 25 and allow shortlisted bidders to conduct a month-long due diligence. It plans to stage the final round of bidding on December 29 and name its preferred bidder by the end of this year.

The golf course is expected to be sold through a limited competitive bidding.

Located in Hoengseong, Gangwon Province, Oxfield CC has been making losses since it opened as a private golf course in 2011, and filed for court receivership in late 2015.

SM Group’s affiliate Hiplus Card acquired the golf course from Hanil Development for approximately 48.9 billion won ($44 million) in 2017. Hanil Development operated the course until September 2019 as an affiliate of SM Group and merged with SM Hiplus.

SM Group has decided to offload the facility to rebuild its business portfolio.

Market insiders are optimistic about an improvement in Oxfield CC’s financial performance. The golf course’s revenue increased to 7.9 billion won last year from 6.5 billion won in 2018, according to SM Group.

Oxfield CC’s profitability has improved sharply this year thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic, with revenue of approximately 7.8 billion won during the first nine months of 2020, which is about 98% of revenue in the whole of 2019.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization reached 4.1 billion won in the third quarter of 2020, up from 3.3 billion won in 2019 and 2.5 billion won in 2018. (Reporting by Hye-ran Kim)