'Beautiful Enterprise '
for 500 More Years

Kumho-Asiana Group holds tree planting ceremony at Asiana Plaza to stay in business for 500 years

"Korean Express is a company that Kumho-Asiana has got to have and if the price is right, we will take over the company without hesitation,"said Chairman Park Sam-koo of the Kumho-Asiana Group Sept. 7.
There have been many speculations that the conglomerate is after the largest logistics company in the country, but this was the first time that the top leader of the group told the journalists about its moves. The chairman probably wanted to make clear his group's position on the transportation company as the Seoul court allowed the caretakers of the court-managed company to have it sold off in a public auction recently.
Chairman Park, during a tree planting ceremony at Asiana Plaza on Sept. 7, told reporters that they will prepare for the M&A bid as the court is moving to select the manager for the sell-off of the stevedoring company. The ceremony celebrated the opening of the plaza and planted a tree to convey the group's wish to keep going for 500 more years and also celebrate the chairman's
5th anniversary to take over the helm of the group on Sept. 2 five years ago.
He stressed that Korea Express is the company that Kumho-Asiana needs in terms of synergy that will be created with its affiliates. But he said the price must be right, implying that the price for the company has skyrocketed in the past several months due to the reported jostling among various companies to take over the juicy company.
Companies rumored to make bids include STX, CJ, Doosan, Hanjin, Lotte and Shinsegae, hiking the company's price to the range of 3 to 4 trillion won from 1 to 2 trillion won earlier. Asked to say what is the right price, the chairman just said they will have to earnestly consider what is the right price range for the winning bid now that there is enough time until the bidding.
Oh Nam-soo, manager of the group's Strategic Management Headquarters, said if winning the bid takes the highest bid, about 70 percent will be the money and 30 percent the capability to make Korea Express to grow after taking it over. Kumho-Asiana is the right suitor as far as the matters outside the price are concerned.
The official cited Asiana Airlines in a position to help the transportation company in land transportation and Kumho Tire also can assist the company through its branch networks overseas including China. Daewoo E&C and Kumho Construction can also be of help to the company in wrapping up the work on the Great Man-made Canal in Libya.
President Oh said that the group would not have trouble raising the fund to take over Korea Express as many investors have already expressed their intentions to join the Kumho-Asiana consortium.
He said if the group succeeds in taking over the company, it will try to overhaul the company's structure to enhance its competitiveness. Its net profit ratio would be raised to 10 percent from the current 5 percent.
Commenting on possible competitors, he said the STX Group is interested more in acquiring a shipbuilding company, adding that the group is more interested in taking over Daewoo Marine and Shipbuilding when it is up for sale in next spring.
On the other hand, President Lee Jong-chol of the STX Pan Ocean Co., said since Korea Express's main business is warehousing and land transportation, it would go well with STX's main business lines including marine transportation and logistics, adding that the group would not to go too far in its attempt to acquire the trucking company, but it will if the price is right.
Main shareholders of Korea Express include Goldman Sachs with 29.95 percent, STX Pan Ocean 14.73 percent and Kumho Industry with 14.11 percent.
In the meantime, Chairman Park celebrated the 5th year anniversary since he became the top manager of the Kumho-Asiana Group on Sept. 2. The group's sales target for this year has been set at 21 trillion won, nearly three-times more than those five years ago.
He is being credited with expanding the group's size through an offensive management strategy by acquiring a number of companies including Daewoo E&C for some 6 trillion won.
At the ceremony held at Asiana Plaza, he led the group's executives in planting a tree witnessing the group's resolve to continue to prosper for 500 years.
He recalled that Asiana Airlines had come through various difficulties facing it and he moved the head office of the air carrier near Gimpo airport to tide over the difficult times. The move was to encourage to employees to work harder. Luckily, the airline was put back on the growth path and is now on the list of famous brands of international air carriers around the world. nw

(above photo) Executives of Kumho-Asiana Group led by Chairman Park Sam-koo, 3rd R, plant a tree at Asiana Plaza Sept.7 to wish for the group to stay in business for 500 more years.(photo right) Chairman Park Sam-koo of the Kumho-Asiana Group.

Copyright(c) 2003 Newsworld All rights reserved. news@newsworld.co.kr
3Fl, 292-47, Shindang 6-dong, Chung-gu, Seoul, Korea 100-456
Tel : 82-2-2235-6114 / Fax : 82-2-2235-0799