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Hynix sale in China possible.

Byline: From Register-Guard and news service reports

SEOUL - Hynix Semiconductor Inc.'s biggest shareholder is thinking about putting the firm on the market again, this time with a Chinese purchaser in mind.

Korea Exchange Bank, the main creditor and shareholder of Hynix, will try to sell the world's third-largest computer-memory chipmaker to a Chinese company after failing to sell it to a U.S. company last year, the Korean bank said this week.

``We are considering restarting sale efforts in China,'' bank spokesman Lee Sung Shik said, confirming a report by Chosun Ilbo newspaper. Lee said it's premature to give details.

Korea Exchange President Lee Kang Won was cited by Chosun Ilbo as saying the bank plans to try to attract Chinese investors if China's current crisis over severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, begins to settle down.

Hynix spokesman Bang Min Ho declined to comment.

Hynix owns the west Eugene Hynix chip factory and six chip factories in South Korea. It is not clear how any sale to a Chinese venture might affect the Eugene plant, which has about 850 employees and is Lane County's largest high-tech business.

Korea Exchange owns a 13.8 percent stake in Hynix Semiconductor after it swapped part of its lending to the chipmaker into equity.

Hynix's board last year rejected a creditor-led plan to sell the chipmaker to Micron Technology Inc. for $3 billion, saying the price was too low.

The move to renew sales talks came as Korea Exchange posted a $159 million first-quarter loss after it wrote down the value of Hynix stock acquired during three bailouts of the chipmaker.

``The bank is paying the price for its reckless lending to Hynix in the past,'' said Han Jeong Tae, a banking analyst at Mirae Asset Securities Co. ``It's still grappling with how to resolve the cash shortage at its credit card unit and risks from other corporate loans.''
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Title Annotation:The move would follow an attempt to sell it in the U.S.; Business
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Geographic Code:9CHIN
Date:May 7, 2003
Words:317
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