Kumho Tire employees hold rally to oppose sale to Qingdao Doublestar

SEOUL-- Hundreds of employees of Kumho Tire Co. on Thursday held a rally against plans by creditors to sell the company to China's Qingdao Doublestar.

About 750 workers held separate rallies at the company headquarters in Seoul and an R and D center in Yongin, Gyeonggi Province, demanding creditors led by the state-run Korea Development Bank stop the sales process.

"The creditors are trying to sell our company to Doublestar, which is inferior in every aspect, including size, technology and marketing, ignoring our efforts (to stop the sale)," they said in a statement. "Our clients and business partners, as well as Kumho Tire employees, are all concerned about the possibility of Doublestar closing Kumho Tire's factories at home after securing Kumho Tire's technology and overseas assets."

Workers also called on creditors to allow the tiremaker time to stand on its own, saying, "We are determined to do everything in our power to normalize the management of the company using the world's top-notch technology and the global distribution networks."

Qingdao Doublestar signed a 955 billion-won (US$827 million) deal in March to acquire a 42 percent stake in Kumho Tire, but the process of acquisition hit a snag over how much the Chinese company should pay for the use of the Kumho brand name.

Kumho Asiana Group has called for the Chinese company to pay 0.5 percent of its sales to use the name for 20 years, while Qingdao Doublestar suggested that it pay 0.2 percent for five years.

Creditors claimed they ironed out a compromise regarding the brand usage fee, with Kumho Asiana asked to inform creditors of whether it will accept the mediation.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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