India’s Mahindras may acquire Korea’s Ssangyong next year

Seoul, Nov 11 (IANS) Indian utility vehicle maker Mahindra and Mahindra should seal the deal to acquire Ssangyong, South Korea’s third largest automobile brand, for around $400-500 million by early next year, Indian Ambassador Skand R. Tayal said here Thursday.

‘Mahindra and Mahindra has been shortlisted as the preferred bidder for Ssangyong. This deal should go through in a couple of months,’ Tayal told reporters on the margins of the G20 Summit, where India is being represented by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Mahindra and Mahindra had entered into an agreement with the ailing Ssangyong Motor in August to acquire a majority stake in the South Korean sport utility vehicle maker and expand its business in international markets.

Chinese carmaker Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp had earlier failed to turn the company around and reduced its stake in Ssangyong from 51 percent to 3.8 percent. Later a restructuring plan was approved in December last year for the company.

Mahindra and Mahindra had pipped the Kolkata-based Ruia Group in the race and had been eyeing the Korean company for its technology, especially in diesel engines, and access to markets overseas.

Ssangyong, which makes a whole range of sports utility vehicles, has about a two percent share of the South Korean automobile market, and also exports to Russia, Europe, China, Middle East, Africa, North and South America and the Asia-Pacific.

(Arvind Padmanabhan can be reached at arvind.p@ians.in)

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