Business / Corporate

South Korea conglomerate to sell Asiana Airlines

Kyodo

A major South Korean conglomerate has decided to sell its controlling stake in Asiana Airlines Inc., the country’s second-largest carrier.

Kumho Industrial Co.’s decision to effectively put the carrier up for sale came after Kumho Asiana Group’s former chairman, Park Sam Koo of the founding family, stepped down in March over accounting issues at the heavily indebted group.

The conglomerate holds a 33.47 percent stake in the airline. The buyer has not yet been identified, but media reports say multiple South Korean conglomerates could be among the potential candidates to purchase the stake.

“We’ve come to a conclusion that selling Asiana Airlines would be the best way to recover trust from the market,” the group said in a statement Monday.

Trading in Asiana Airlines shares was suspended between March 22 and 25 after an auditing company failed to sign off on financial statements submitted by the carrier March 22, according to local media.