SsangYong Motor back on sale as Edison’s acquisition fails

South Korean mid-sized automaker Edison Motors’ proposed acquisition of SsangYong Motor has been cancelled due to payment failure, putting the debt-laden SUV maker’s journey to search for new owner back to starting line.

According to SsangYong Motor on Monday, its acquisition contract with a consortium led by Edison Motors was terminated after the buyer failed to pay 274.3 billion won ($223.7 million) by March 25, the deadline date designated by the Seoul Bankruptcy Court to pay the full balance prior to the creditors’ meeting on April 1.

Edison Motors had requested the court to delay the creditors’ meeting, so that it could buy time for the payment. But SsangYong decided not to wait for Edison, considering the already delayed timeframe and urgency of the business recovery, according to officials.

Now with the deal being collapsed, the two sides are expected to wage a legal battle over 30.5 billion won poured out by Edison as down payment. Both are likely toss the blame on each other for providing the main cause of the cancelled deal, industry watchers say.

The two signed an M&A contract in January that offers a controlling stake of the SUV maker to a little known electric bus maker Edison.

Critics have been questioning Edison’s funding capabilities as the company has been struggling with its own financial trouble with consecutive operating losses.

Its new model J100, a full-electric version of its SUV Musso, is slated for a June launch through partnership with BYD. It has also recently completed construction of its Saudi Arabian plant in January for Rexton assembly with Saudi National Automobiles Manufacturing Company.

The carmaker, owned by Indian conglomerate Mahindra & Mahindra, has been put to court receivership for the second time in April last year, after it failed to repay around 160 billion won worth of loans.

Edison, for its part, blamed SsangYong’s uncooperative attitude towards the deal that they never talked where to spend its deposit of 30 billion won. SsangYong’s reluctance, not its financial capability, was the reason behind it wanting to delay full payment, it added.

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