Asiana Airlines is owned by the Kumho Asiana Group, a large South Korean conglomerate made up of some of the country’s biggest companies.
Asiana Airlines owns Air Seoul
Seoul based Asiana Airlines is the second-largest full-service airline in South Korea behind Korean Air and has a low-cost subsidy called Air Seoul.
Asiana Airlines is also the largest shareholder in regional budget airlines Air Busan in partnership with the Busan Metropolitan City.
Having appointed Credit Suisse to handle the sale, people familiar with the goings-on at Asiana told the Yonhap News Agency that four bidders were now on a shortlist. The four companies looking to acquire a controlling stake in Asiana Airlines are:
- The Aekyung Group: A conglomerate involved in everything from cosmetics-to-healthcare that that is familiar with the airline industry due to its ownership of low-cost carrier Jeju Air Co.
- Mirae Asset Daewoo: Korea’s largest investment banking and stock brokerage company following Mirae Asset Securities and Daewoo Securities joining forces in 2016.
- Hyundai Development Company (HDC): The HDC is a South Korean conglomerate that has subsidiaries in retail, construction, leisure, sports, petrochemicals, and healthcare.
- Korea Corporate Governance Improvement (KCGI): KCGI is a Korean private fund that invests in multiple projects.
- Stonebridge Capital: A Korean venture capital company that invests in projects that show potential for long-term growth.
Korea Corporate Governance Improvement and Stonebridge capital are jointly bidding for the stake in Asiana Airlines.
Aekyung says they are the only bidder who knows how to run an airline
In a statement released yesterday, (Wednesday) that has been carried by the Yonhap News Agency, Aekyung was keen to point out that out of all the bidders they are the only one who knows how to run an airline.
“We are in talks with multiple highly credible financial investors for a partnership in the Asiana auction,” the statement said.
Aekyung Group subsidy AK Holdings the majority stake in South Korea’s biggest low-cost carrier by sales Jeju Air Co.
In charge of the Stone Bridge Capital consortium Park Seong-joon said he would release details of his companies bid next week.
Kumho will allow companies not on the shortlist to bid in October
South Korean heavyweights like SK, Hanwha, and CJ had shown an interest when told about the sale but failed to submit bids to the amazement of Kumho.
To this end, Asiana’s creditors and Kumho are still hoping that one of the big conglomerates will make a late bid for the airline.
Consequently, they are reportedly considering letting companies that did not submit bids in the preliminary stage to enter the final bidding in October in the hope that it will raise the sale price.
While speaking to an industry insider the Korea Times, quotes its source as saying:
“Those consortiums led by brokerages or private equity funds will seek to acquire Asiana at the lowest price possible and then sell it to the highest bidder in the future. This isn’t what Kumho is looking for.”