Hyundai E&C Shareholders to Vote on Ending Talks on Sale to Hyundai Group

Hyundai Engineering & Construction Co.’s controlling shareholders may scrap talks on a sale to Hyundai Group after saying the buyer had failed to allay concerns about funding plans.

The shareholders, holding 35 percent of South Korea’s biggest builder, plan to vote on whether to end discussions by Dec. 22, Korea Exchange Bank, one of the group, said today in a statement. Hyundai Group offered 5.5 trillion won ($4.8 billion) for the stake, two people familiar with the matter said on Nov. 16, the day it was named preferred bidder.

“The documents that were submitted by Hyundai Group were deemed insufficient,” Kim Hyo Sang, a director at Korea Exchange Bank, said today at a briefing in Seoul. “We will try to conclude the matter as soon as possible.”

Hyundai Engineering rose the most in more than two months in Seoul trading as the shareholders said they would also consider whether to open talks with Hyundai Motor Group instead. The automaker, which lost out in the November auction, may be able to invest more money in the builder than Hyundai Group as it has deeper cash reserves, Byun Sung Jin, an analyst at Mirae Asset Securities Co. has said.

Hyundai Group said its talks should continue. The group said it had provided documents showing that it didn’t put up collateral for a 1.2 trillion won loan from Paris-based Natixis SA. The agreement has formed the center of the shareholders’ concerns.

“We have provided documents that clearly show that all the speculation about the loan is false,” the group said today in an e-mailed statement. The group has rejected requests from the Hyundai Engineering shareholders to provide a copy of the loan agreement.

The builder gained 4.7 percent to 69,800 won at the close of trading. Hyundai Merchant Marine Co., Hyundai Group’s biggest unit and South Korea’s second-largest shipping line, dropped 1.7 percent to 41,650 won. Hyundai Motor Co., the country’s biggest automaker, closed unchanged at 178,000 won.

To contact the reporters on this story: Sookyung Seo in Seoul at sseo10@bloomberg.net; Kyunghee Park in Singapore at kpark3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Neil Denslow at ndenslow@bloomberg.net

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