By Chae Yun-hwan
SEOUL, June 23 (Yonhap) — Valeo, a French automotive parts maker, Wednesday denied reports that it has submitted a preliminary bid for a controlling stake in South Korean rival Hanon Systems, a deal that could fetch up to 8 trillion won (US$7.04 billion).
A 70 percent stake in Hanon Systems, valued at some 6.6 trillion won, has been put up for sale by key shareholders Hahn & Company and Hankook Tire & Technology.
Local media reported that Valeo is among those that have submitted bids for Hanon.
“Valeo categorically denies having made an offer,” a Valeo spokesperson said in an e-mail to Yonhap News Agency.
Valeo had been initially expected to take part in the bidding, with German automotive parts maker Mahle, investment firms the Carlyle Group and Bain Capital currently reportedly in the race for the South Korean firm.
Market watchers had also expected prospective buyers to include South Korea’s LG Electronics and Halla Group, but they have also reportedly decided against acquiring Hanon Systems.
Top shareholder Hahn and Company put up for sale its 50 percent stake in Hanon Systems, formerly Halla Visteon Climate Control Corp, with the remainder from Hankook Tire & Technology.
In 2015, Hankook Tire Co. and Hahn & Company acquired the interest from U.S. auto parts maker Visteon Corp., which took over Halla Climate Control Corp. from Halla Group after South Korea’s 1997-98 foreign exchange crisis.
Hanon Systems is a major supplier of automotive thermal and energy solutions systems used for EVs and conventional vehicles powered by internal combustion engines. Industry sources estimate Hanon Systems is the world’s No. 2 player in the market.