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Kumho to sell cornerstone stake in Asiana Airlines

Embattled South Korean conglomerate Kumho Industrial will sell its 33% stake in Asiana Airlines as it seeks to shore up its finances.

The sale decision was made by Kumho’s board on 15 April, a stock exchange disclosure states, but no timeline for the sale nor the likely price have been set.

Kumho Industrial is the holding company of the Kumho Asiana Group, which has been seeking around W500 billion ($441 million) in emergency loans from Korea Development Bank, its largest creditor.

The sale of the Asiana stake is part of a wider self-rescue plan for the heavily indebted conglomerate. A meeting of creditors is expected to be called soon to approve the plan.

It is not clear which parties could acquire the cornerstone stake in Asiana, but several reports point to other Korean industrial conglomerates as likely bidders.

Asiana’s financial state came under scrutiny earlier this year after auditors refused to sign off on the Star Alliance carrier’s accounts due to issues over the accounting of lease and maintenance provisions. That forced it to revise its statements and led to the resignation of Park Sam-koo as a co-chief executive.

Asiana has started a detailed review of its business and warned that it may sell assets, cut routes and reduce its fleet to meet its own financial challenges and bolster its credit rating.

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