Hyundai Motor Group says interested in buying $2.9 bln Seoul land plot

SEOUL, July 17 Thu Jul 17, 2014 3:18am EDT

SEOUL, July 17 (Reuters) - Hyundai Motor Group on Thursday expressed interest in buying the site of Korea Electric Power's Seoul headquarters, which real estate analysts said could fetch at least 3 trillion won ($2.91 billion).

The Korea Economic Daily also said Samsung Group could be interested in the site, the last large piece of land available for development in Seoul's wealthy Gangnam district.

A Samsung Group spokesman declined comment. A spokesman for state-run utility Korea Electric Power (KEPCO) said no potential bidder other than Hyundai Motor Group had publicly announced interest.

KEPCO said on Thursday it plans to kick off a competitive bidding process in August for the 79,342 square metres site.

The plot was appraised at 1.48 trillion won ($1.44 billion) in 2013, but the actual sale value could be at least double due to its development potential, real estate analysts said.

Hyundai Motor Group, which includes Hyundai Motor Co and sister company Kia Motors, said in a statement it was interested in the site because its current headquarters had become too small for its growing business.

The group also said it wants to build a "global business center" that will incorporate its own team as well as a hotel, a convention center and an auto theme park.

The Korea Economic Daily previously said Samsung Group may also be interested in the KEPCO site because its unit, Samsung Life Insurance, bought in 2011 an adjacent property.

The site is to be put up for sale as KEPCO moves to Gwangju in the southwestern part of Korea this year as part of a government bill to move state-run enterprises around the country to ensure a balance between the economic development of various regions.

($1 = 1031.0000 Korean Won) (Reporting by Joyce Lee; Editing by Miral Fahmy)