The main creditor bank of Kumho Industrial Co. said Friday it is considering revising its overhaul plan of the troubled builder as its debt-to-equity swap move could violate a revised bill in banning new cross-shareholding.
Kumho Industrial has been under the bank-initiated debt rescheduling program since 2010 as the builder was reeling from heavy debts following its parent group Kumho Asiana Group's liquidity crunch.
The creditors have pumped nearly 6 trillion won (US$5.4 billion) into the builder, but it still faces setbacks amid concerns that its capital might be completely eroded by end-2013.
The state-run Korea Development Bank (KDB) said that it is pushing to normalize the builder's operations through a debt-to-equity swap. An approval vote on the motion by other creditors will be on Sept. 5.
The swap plan includes 50.8 billion won in uncollateralized bonds held by the creditors and 79 billion won in commercial paper held by Asiana Airlines Inc.
The issue of converting the holding of the carrier into equity has recently sparked tension between the KDB and the anti-trust watchdog as the move is subject to be regulated under a bill on banning new cross-shareholding.
The government is considering allowing exceptions in banning fresh cross-shareholding among large conglomerates, saying that corporate restructuring could result in "unintended" cross-shareholding, hinting at relaxing the enforcement for such cases.
Kumho Industrial holds a 30 percent stake in Asiana Airlines and if the debt-to-equity swap is conducted, the country's No. 2 carrier will have a 13 percent interest in the builder, which should be disposed of in six months after a stake purchase under the law.
The KDB originally suggested that Kumho Terminal might take over that interest from Asiana Airlines, saying that disposing of such stakes in the market is feared to spark sharp falls in stock prices due to over-hanging. But the move also brings in the cross-shareholding problem.
Noh Dae-lae, the head of the Fair Trade Commission, said on Thursday that the KDB's plan cannot be recognized as an exception in banning additional cross-shareholding.
KDB said that it will make a decision over how to sell Asiana Airlines' stakeholdings in the builder after consulting with other creditors by taking into account the government's position.