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UPDATE 1-Cooper to sell stake in Kumho for $109 mln

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SEOUL, July 29 (Reuters) - Kumho Tires Co Ltd 073240.KS is seeking investors to take over a $109 million stake in itself that U.S.-based Cooper Tire & Rubber Co CTB.N plans to sell, an official at the South Korean company said on Tuesday.

“Cooper’s lock-up period ended at the end of May. Kumho is looking for financial or strategic investors,” the official told Reuters by telephone, asking not to be identified.

In 2005, Cooper bought a 10.71 percent stake in Kumho, South Korea’s No.2 tyre maker, at 109.8 billion won ($108.7 million), or 14,641 won per share, according to a filing to the Korea Exchange.

The U.S. tyre maker has a right to sell the shares at 14,650 won per share, the official said.

But shares in Kumho ended down 3.1 percent at 8,500 won.

Kumho is likely to face difficulties finding investors, given the gloomy outlook for the global tyre industry amid higher raw material prices and on concerns about turmoil in the credit markets, analysts said.

That came after French tyre maker Michelin MICP.PA raised its stake in Hankook Tire 000240.KS to nearly 10 percent. ($1=1010.5 Won) (Reporting by Cheon Jong-woo; Editing by Ken Wills)

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