The tender for the sale of Asiana Airlines is about three weeks away. However, it is still unclear who will be chosen as the preferred bidder. Some watchers say that the airline may not be sold within this year.
At present, qualified candidates such as Aekyung Group, the HDC Hyundai Development Company-Mirae Asset Daewoo consortium, the KCGI-BankerStreet PE consortium and StoneBridge Capital are conducting due diligence on Asiana Airlines, which posted an operating loss of 124 billion won in the second quarter of this year.
With some new candidates expected to emerge ahead of the tender scheduled for early next month, SK Group is being mentioned as one of those new candidates in that the large business group engaged in oil refining can significantly reduce its oil price and foreign exchange risks by acquiring the airline. Still, some experts point out that airports already have established aviation fuel supply systems and, as such, internal aviation fuel supply through the takeover will not be very attractive for the group.
In addition, public opinions in the Jeolla provinces, where Asiana Airlines is based, cannot be ignored with general elections scheduled for next year. In June this year, civic organizations in the region formed a group to urge Asiana Airlines to remain in the region. Also, the Kwangju Chamber of Commerce and Industry is asserting that any takeover will adversely affect the regional economy of the provinces.