Report: Ripplewood In Race for Daewoo Electronics

SEOUL (Reuters) – Creditors of South Korea’s Daewoo Electronics have chosen five candidates including Electrolux (ELUXb.ST) and Ripplewood to buy the appliance maker in a preliminary bidding, a local media report said on Thursday.

It is the fourth attempt to sell creditors-owned Daewoo Electronics, once a flagship of the failed Daewoo Group.

MoneyToday said that Daewoo’s creditors shortlisted five viable candidates among those who submitted letters of intent — Sweden’s appliance giant Electrolux, U.S. private equity firm Ripplewood Holdings, South Korean cooking appliance maker Tong Yang Magic (023020.KQ), a Middle East firm and an appliance player in Mexico.

An official at Daewoo’s leading creditor Woori Bank confirmed creditors had received multiple letters of intent but declined to identify any preliminary bidder. The final bidding will take place in March, MoneyToday said, citing industry sources.

After earlier sale attempts had failed, Daewoo Electronics sold off its non-core businesses to focus on its profitable washing machines and refrigerators businesses.

In the previous rounds, Ripplewood was the latest contender but talks with the U.S. firm collapsed in January in the aftermath of the global financial crisis.

Prior to that, creditors also held failed negotiations with a consortium of India’s Videocon Industries (VEDI.BO) and RHJ International (RHJI.BR), the holding company for Ripplewood, as well as a private equity unit of Morgan Stanley (MS.N).

Unlisted Daewoo was placed under a debt rescheduling programme after its parent group went bankrupt in 1999. It competes with bigger local rivals Samsung Electronics (005930.KS) and LG Electronics (066570.KS) as well as low-priced Chinese producers, and generates more than 80 percent of its sales abroad. (Reporting by Rhee So-eui; Editing by Valerie Lee)