The race to take over Korea’s leading industrial gas supplier Daesung Industrial Gases Co. has become restricted to private equity funds as foreign and domestic players all bowed out in the middle.
According to the investment banking industry Thursday, Germany’s Linde Group and U.S-based Air Products and Chemicals Inc., once regarded as strong candidates, pulled out of the race as the figure ran bigger than their expectations to near 1.5 trillion won ($ 1.2 billion). Linde Group instead is concentrating on merger with U.S. rival Praxair.
Remaining contesters are U.S.-based private equity firm TPG Capital LP, Hong Kong-based investment firm PAG and Korea’s MBK Partners.
It however won’t be easy for PEF to acquire the debt-ridden gas company. Some deem SK Group and Hyosung Group could join the race as its parent Daesung Group is eager to reach a deal to pay off bonds maturing in March and April. Instead of block sale, the group also could deem selling 32 percent in the gas unit held by Daesung affiliates. It may tap its largest shareholder Goldman Sachs that owns 48 percent of the gas company to assume the rest of the stake.
By Kang Doo-soon and Han Woo-ram
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business News Korea & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]