Court sets new deadline for SsangYong to find new owner

A Seoul court has set a new deadline for SsangYong Motor Co., under court receivership, to find a new owner as its preferred bidder failed to make a full payment to acquire the carmaker, SsangYong said Tuesday.

The Seoul Bankruptcy Court has nullified the rehabilitation plan submitted by SsangYong last month and cancelled the meeting of SsangYong’s creditors due April 1 following the payment failure of a local consortium led by Edison Motors Co., the company said in a statement.

SsangYong has to look for a new investor and submit a new rehabilitation plan to the court by May 1. If submitted in time, the court will decide whether to approve the new restructuring plan by mid-October, the statement said.

The court-led rehabilitation process for SsangYong began on April 15, 2021, and within the following one and a half years, SsangYong is required to obtain the court’s approval for its rehabilitation plan to graduate from court receivership.
SsangYong on Monday canceled the deal to sell its controlling stake to Edison Motors as the electric bus and truck maker didn’t pay the remaining 274.3 billion won by the March 25 deadline.

Edison had offered to buy SsangYong for 304.8 billion won and paid 10 percent of the acquisition money.

In response to SsangYong’s cancellation of the deal, Edison on Monday filed for an injunction to retain its position as the preferred bidder for SsangYong and asked the court to place the initial 10 percent down payment under provisional attachment.

SsangYong said it will file a counterclaim against Edison as the electric bus maker is apparently responsible for the deal’s collapse.

In January, the Edison consortium signed a final deal with SsangYong on the takeover following the court’s approval of the acquisition plan.

But Edison Motors has had trouble raising funds for the takeover deal as Edison EV, its key affiliate involved in the funding, is struggling with its own financial trouble with consecutive operating losses.

SsangYong’s creditors and labor union were opposing the acquisition as they objected to the low debt payment ratio in the rehabilitation plan.

Edison Motors had requested the court allow the creditors’ meeting to be postponed to May 23 or later to buy time for the takeover process.

The collapse of the deal marks yet another setback to SsangYong, which was placed under a court-led restructuring program in April last year after its Indian parent failed to attract an investor amid the COVID-19 pandemic and its worsening financial status.

China-based SAIC Motor Corp. acquired a 51 percent stake in SsangYong in 2004 but relinquished its control of the carmaker in 2009 in the wake of the global financial crisis.

In 2011, Mahindra acquired a 70 percent stake in SsangYong for 523 billion won and now holds a 74.65 percent stake in the carmaker.

For the whole of 2021, its vehicle sales fell 22 percent to 84,106 units from 107,324 a year earlier amid the pandemic and chip shortages.

SsangYong’s lineup consists of the Tivoli, Korando, Rexton and Rexton Sports SUVs.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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