GWANGJU/SEOUL, March 26 (Korea Bizwire) – The labor union of Kumho Tire Co. on Monday spurned a call by state-run creditor bank to let all employees vote on the planned sale of a majority stake in the troubled tiremaker to China’s Qingdao Doublestar Co.
The rebuff came shortly after Lee Dong-gull, chairman and CEO of the Korea Development Bank (KDB), called for all employees of Kumho Tire to vote on the future of the company.
Lee told reporters that some office employees of Kumho Tire have backed the planned sale, which is strongly opposed by the tiremaker’s labor union.
However, an official at Kumho Tire’s labor union in Gwangju, 330 kilometers south of Seoul where the tiremaker’s main plan is located, said the union rejected the KDB’s call for vote.
The union, which organized a general strike, also criticized the KDB for”playing the media” in order to turn the company over to Doublestar.
KDB is planning to sell a 45 percent stake in Kumho Tire for 646.3 billion won (US$598.4 million) to the Chinese tiremaker.
The state-run lender said the labor union must accept the planned sale by the end of the month. If not, Kumho Tire will be put under court receivership, Lee said.
Doublestar had been chosen as a preferred bidder to buy a controlling stake in Kumho Tire last year, but the deal was terminated after the Chinese firm demanded a cheaper price.
Earlier this month, KDB said Doublestar agreed on the new deal to buy Kumho Tire.
With just four days until the deadline, the situation seems deadlocked.
If Doublestar buys the stake in Kumho Tire, KDB’s Lee said the creditor will consider giving stock options to employees.