The former owner of South Korea's second-largest tire maker, Kumho Tire, threatened to take legal and other steps aimed at stopping its sale to a Chinese company, urging creditors to open a new round of "fair" bidding.
The demand came a day after Korea Development Bank, the state-run main creditor, said that China's Doublestar would become the legal owner of Kumho Tire unless Kumho Asian Group chairman Park Sam-koo exercises his right to buy back.
Park said Tuesday that he would give up unless creditors suspend an "unfair" sale. "If Kumho Tires' corporate value and growth are hampered by and unfair sale, I will take all possible measures including legal litigation," he said in a statement.
Doublestar signed a share purchase agreement in March with creditors to secure a controlling 42.01 percent stake in Kumho Tire for 955 billion won (843 million US dollars). It was this year's first major Chinese investment in South Korea which has been locked in a diplomatic row over the deployment of a US missile shield.
Park called foul play and appealed to patriotism saying Kumho Tire should not be turned over to a foreign company especially from China. Creditors have rejected his proposal to set up a consortium.
There have been doubts about his financial ability, but Park has continued to throw a damper on Doublestar's deal, sparking speculation among some market watchers that he is trying to earn time until a new government shapes up following South Korea's May 9 presidential election.
Kumho Tire with plants in China, Vietnam, and the United States was put under a debt workout program in December 2009 due to a severe liquidity crunch. It graduated from the program in late 2014.
Lim Chang-won = firstname.lastname@example.org