SEOUL Creditors of Kumho Tire Co (073240.KS) have started the process of selling a stake in the South Korean tiremaker, a spokesman for its lead creditor said on Tuesday, estimated by analysts to be worth around 1 trillion won ($893.2 million).
Creditor banks have put up a 42 percent stake in Kumho Tire, the world's 12th-biggest tyremaker and South Korea's second biggest, a Korea Development Bank (KDB) spokesman said, which was worth about 743 billion won as of Tuesday's close.
Kumho Tire has production bases in South Korea, China, the United States and Vietnam, and counts Hyundai Motor (005380.KS), Kia Motors (000270.KS), Chrysler, part of Fiat Chrysler (FCHA.MI), and BMW (BMWG.DE) among its customers.
The KDB spokesman said creditors tentatively expect initial letters of interest around November and main bids around January, but the actual schedule will depend on the progress of the sale.
They have appointed Credit Suisse CSGN.VX to manage the deal.
The chairman of South Korea's Kumho Asiana Group, Park Sam-koo, who also controls Asiana Airlines Inc (020560.KS), has the right of first refusal on the deal once bids are in, another KDB spokesman said.
Park is a member of the founding family of Kumho Asiana Group, which developed from its origins as a taxi firm into one of country's largest conglomerates, encompassing aviation, chemicals and industrials.
But an over-ambitious acquisition strategy before the global financial crisis left the conglomerate saddled with debt, leading to Kumho Tire being put under a creditor-led debt restructuring in late 2009.
(Reporting by Hyunjoo Jin and Joyce Lee; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)