Hynix shareholders split over capital reduction

Seoul, Korea – Minor shareholders of Hynix Semiconductor Inc. said that major stakeholders in the chipmaker should take a bigger hit in an expected capital reduction aimed at helping sell the firm.

Signs of a split over how to pare Hynix’s shares, which number more than five billion, come as creditors renew efforts to find a buyer for the world’s third-largest memory chipmaker, reported Reuters.

“The best way to revive Hynix is to find a responsible buyer after a capital reduction,” said Oh Phil-keun, head of a group representing minor shareholders.

The key was designing a capital reduction “acceptable to both major and minor shareholders”, he said.

Minor shareholders have offered to accept a five to one capital reduction as long as major shareholders shoulder a 20 to one reduction. They also proposed creditors write off two trillion won in debt, Oh said.

Creditors were unlikely to agree to the demand for major shareholders to accept capital reduction at a higher ratio, an official at main creditor Korea Exchange Bank said. “There is no guarantee that Hynix share prices will rise once we accept the demand by minor shareholders,” the official told Reuters.

A bank official said it was reviewing a debt write-off proposal it expected to deliver to other creditors for discussion.

A Korea Exchange Bank spokesman said it was delaying a creditor meeting set for late this week to sometime next week, when a restructuring plan drafted by adviser Deutsche Bank was expected to be unveiled.

Creditors who control more than 80% of Hynix are pushing to recover more than $4 billion the firm owes them. Their efforts to conclude a $3.4 billion sale of its entire memory business to US rival Micron Technology Inc. failed in April.

Hynix may have to consider a rights issue of 1.5 trillion won, or $1.27 billion, after the capital reduction to raise cash needed for new investments, Oh said.


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