Last month the largest South Korean automaker – the Hyundai Group – announced it won a 10.55 trillion won ($10 billion) auction to acquire a valued plot in Seoul, sparking intense debates and a share tumble.
During the heat of the announcements – which triggered both investor dissent and a partial strike from Hyundai and Kia workers – we reported that the board of directors at Hyundai, Kia and Hyundai Mobilis even approved the bid without knowing the price in advance.
Now that piece of news has been confirmed by a shareholder rights group, which has cited as evidence minutes of the board meetings. The Solidarity for Economic Reform, a South Korean corporate watchdog obtained the documents from the companies and found that during a meeting on September 17 – a day before the bid – the directors were unaware of the final closing price. The Hyundai Motor Group, the company that represents all three Groups implicated, neither confirmed the claim or the contents of the minutes.
Although reports claimed the rival bidder – technology giant Samsung – offered just half of the Hyundai bid to Korea Electric Corp – the state run utility company that sold the plot – on September 26 the companies run by billionaire Chairman Chung Mong Koo approved the move to acquire the land.