SEOUL - South Korea's Hyundai group has announced a restructuring plan to sell off financial units for more than $3 billion in an effort to reduce its debt and focus on shipping, logistics and elevator-machinery businesses.
The firm has put up for sale Hyundai Securities, Hyundai Asset Management and Hyundai Savings Bank as well as other assets, including a luxury hotel.
The group said in a statement published Sunday that the sale would help it raise up to 3.3 trillion won (US $3.1 billion) and improve its liquidity.
It promised to concentrate its resources on three main businesses -- Hyundai Merchant Marine, Hyundai Elevator and Hyundai Logistics.
The debt ratio for the three main units stood at 493% in the third quarter of this year. The group plans to lower that to about 200%.
Hyundai Merchant will borrow money overseas, while Hyundai Elevator will float new shares and Hyundai Logistics will be listed on the Seoul stock exchange.
In the wake of the 1997-98 economic crisis, Hyundai Group became a minor conglomerate after it spun off its lucrative auto-making unit, Hyundai Motor (IW 1000/56). Hyundai Engineering and Construction also left the group and came under creditors' control in 2001 as part of a bailout package.
Hyundai Heavy Industries (IW 1000/93), the world's largest shipbuilder, had been spun off earlier.
The Hyundai group has been in trouble since former chairman Chung Mong-Hun committed suicide in 2003.
It controls Hyundai Asan, which used to operate tours to a scenic North Korean resort before it was shut down in 2008 when a South Korea female tourist was shot dead.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2013