Samsung Everland IPO seen spurring Samsung Group restructure

SEOUL Mon Jun 2, 2014 8:12pm EDT

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SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea's Samsung Everland Inc said on Tuesday it will seek an initial public offering, a widely anticipated move seen as the next step in Samsung Group's restructuring and the transfer of control to the next generation of the owner Lee family.

Samsung Everland in a statement said it would name managers for the IPO this month and then decide the specifics of the offering, which will be on South Korea's main bourse. The firm did not provide further details, though a spokesman said the listing would likely be completed by the first quarter of 2015.

An IPO for Samsung Everland, which has business interests in areas including fashion and resorts, was widely seen by analysts as the next step in the transfer of control from Lee Kun-hee, the Lee family's patriarch and chairman of flagship company Samsung Electronics Co Ltd (005930.KS), to his children.

Questions about the group's future have intensified in recent months following the hospitalisation of Lee Kun-hee, who is recovering from a cardiac procedure in May.

Jay Y. Lee, the unofficial heir-apparent to Samsung Electronics, is the biggest individual shareholder of Samsung Everland with a 25.1 percent stake at the end of March. The Lee family as a whole controls about 46 percent of Samsung Everland, according to a recent regulatory filing.

While the roadmap for the succession process remains unclear, some analysts have speculated that some of the Samsung Group companies could sell their minority stakes in Samsung Everland, then use the proceeds to strengthen the group's control in various affiliates or expand into new lines of business and seek growth opportunities.

Samsung Everland reported revenue of 3.23 trillion won ($3.15 billion) and an operating profit of 111.1 billion won for 2013.

The firm said it would use proceeds from the IPO to grow its businesses, including the pursuit of overseas expansion for its fashion operations as well as boosting the capabilities of its biomedical affiliate Samsung Biologics Co Ltd.

(Reporting by Se Young Lee, Jungmin Jang and Hyunjoo Jin; Editing by Chris Reese and Stephen Coates)

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