South Korean conglomerate SK Group is contemplating selling some of its assets in Vietnam and Malaysia, controlled by investment vehicle SK South East Asia Investment, to prepare for deteriorating economic circumstances.
Given the bleak forecast for business in 2023, the potential asset sales come at a time when SK Group is hoarding cash and delaying investments in new initiatives.
According to KedGlobal, SK South East Asia Investment owns 6.1 per cent of Vingroup, Vietnam's largest conglomerate, and 9.5 per cent of Masan Group, the second-biggest in the country.
It also boasts 14.5 per cent of Maroon Bells, the company that owns Pharmacity; 54 per cent of Imexpharm; 16.3 per cent of VinCommerce; 4.9 per cent of The CrownX Corporation; and an unspecified stake in fintech platform BigPay, owned by Malaysia's AirAsia Group.
Last month, SK E&S, the renewable energy operator of SK, signed an agreement to buy a 99.99 per cent stake in New Renewable Energy No.1, a subsidiary of Gia Lai Power Electricity, to set a foot in the renewable energy sector in Vietnam. The deal between SK E&S and its partner is estimated at $37.5 million.
SK E&S began implementing energy projects in Vietnam in 2020, and currently operates wind farms and solar power projects in Ninh Thuan province and elsewhere via its subsidiaries in Singapore.
A representative from SK shared with KedGlobal that no final decisions have yet been taken and it will be decided later on which firms will be involved and how much equity would be up for grabs.
“SK is not in a financial crunch. It just wants to preemptively secure funds to prepare for worsening economic conditions,” said an investment banking industry source.
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