The bid over a full stake in Halla Cement Corp., South Korea’s fourth-largest cement producer, will be a four-way race after three strategic investors and a private equity fund have been shortlisted as potential buyers on Monday.
According to multiple sources from the investment bank industry on Monday, Hong Kong-based Baring Private Equity Asia, the largest shareholder of Halla Cement, and its sales advisor Citigroup Global Market Securities Korea have shortlisted four potential buyers including three strategic investors Asia Cement Co., Sungshin Cement Co., and Aju Corporation Co. and private equity fund LK Investment Partners. A total of six investors initially submitted preliminary bids to buy Halla Cement last week.
The four shortlisted candidates will have five to six weeks to conduct due diligence on the company before submitting final bids in early November. The seller aims to pick a final bidder by mid-November.
The auction to sell a full stake in Halla Cement comes about a year after Baring PEA acquired the cement producer for around 550 billion won ($487.6 million). Baring PEA is reportedly seeking between 600 billion won and 800 billion won for Halla that has seen significant improvement in its earnings over a year. In 2016, Halla Cement raised 62.8 billion won in operating income, up 43 percent from 43.8 billion won a year ago.
Among the contenders, Asia Cement that formed an exclusive team dedicated for the takeover has emerged as a strong bidder. Rutter Associates Private Equity and Eugene Corporation that were considered potential buyers, meanwhile, did not take part in the auction.
By Kang Doo-soon and Chun Gyung-woon
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