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Last Updated: Monday, 22 December, 2003, 07:05 GMT
Chinese to buy S Korean car maker
Ssangyong car plant
Ssangyong has been looking for a buyer for four years
Creditors of Ssangyong, South Korea's fourth-largest car firm, have agreed to sell to a Chinese chemical company.

State-owned China National Blue Star, the country's biggest maker of industrial cleaning products, is also one of its most aquisitive firms.

The deal puts an end to four years of uncertainty for Ssangyong, which was put into administration in 1999.

Since then, the company has been eyed by various would-be buyers, notably US giant General Motors (GM).

Last-minute hitch

A deal with Blue Star had been widely expected since last week, when creditors voted to back its bid.

But the sale had been thrown into confusion by Chinese car maker Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation, GM's Chinese partner.

Shanghai Automotive claimed to have been given permission by Beijing to take over Ssangyong.

But creditors, who have controlled the firm since it was put into administration, have now delivered a letter agreeing the sale to Ssangyong's bankers.

Changing hands

The deal is the first time that a South Korean car firm has been taken over by a Chinese buyer.

Protesting Ssangyong workers
Workers say the company could survive on its own
Troubles in the sector have seen most high-profile automotive companies taken over in the past few years.

GM now controls Daewoo, while France's Renault owns the car business of conglomerate Samsung.

Only Hyundai, which also owns the Kia motor brand, remains in domestic hands.

Workers at Ssangyong had protested against the idea of selling the company, arguing that it could survive well enough on its own.


SEE ALSO:
GM eyes S Korean car manufacturer
04 Dec 03  |  Business
GM signs off on Daewoo deal
30 Apr 02  |  Business


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