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Daewoo MT Stresses Its Independence.

As South Korea's giant conglomerates--Hyundai, Daewoo, and Samsung--go through government-mandated reorganization, Daewoo's machine-tool division seeks to calm customer apprehension.

In a memo to internal personnel and outside distributors, Steve Choi, executive managing director of shipbuilder Daewoo Heavy Industries Ltd., which includes the 1500-unit-per-year machine-tool business, asserts that DHI Ltd. will remain intact and will continue to operate as a self-supporting entity.

DHI now tries to distance itself from one of its cousin firms, Daewoo Corp. That unit and Daewoo Motors Co., both subsidiaries of Daewoo Group, have been singled out for heavy spending in recent years on dilapidated auto plants in developing countries.

Just 24% of DHI stock is held by Daewoo Corp., and the balance is traded openly on the Seoul stock exchange, managers say. DHI, which has a market share of 50% in South Korea, is said to the most sound and profitable among Daewoo affiliates.
 Debt-financed, aggressive expansion by Korea's conglomerates forced the
 country into the debt crisis that, at the end of 1997, led to a $58-billion
 bailout from the International Monetary Fund. That in turn led all of
 Korea's conglomerates to agree to programs to improve their financial

At Daewoo Group, the program calls for drastic dismemberment. All of the conglomerate's 25 affiliate companies, except six automotive-related units, are to be sold off. The group's consumer-electronics company, which was to be swapped for a Samsung automobile unit before that deal fell through, is expected to be sold to U.S. investors.

Daewoo Heavy Industries Amer. Corp., W. Caldwell, N.J. 973-618-2500.
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Publication:Metalworking Insiders' Report
Geographic Code:9SOUT
Date:Aug 18, 1999
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