February 9, 2018 / 4:03 AM / 6 months ago

South Korea weighs options for GM Korea: finance minister

SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea is considering several options regarding General Motors Co’s operations in the country, the finance minister said on Friday after the U.S. automaker called for cooperation over its restructuring efforts.

A worker checks cars made by GM Korea in a yard of GM Korea's Bupyeong plant before they are transported to a port for export, in Incheon, west of Seoul August 9, 2013. REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won

GM’s Korea operations have been struggling with rising labor costs and slumping domestic sales, fuelling concerns over a potential pullout.

“We are preparing for various possibilities,” Finance Minister Kim Dong-yeon told lawmakers, asked if he had any contingency plan for GM’s possible pullout.

Kim did not give further details.

Persistent talk of the carmaker’s exit has raised concern in small South Korean cities where it operates manufacturing plants.

South Korea’s state-run development bank holds a 17 percent stake in GM Korea, while GM has 77 percent and China’s SAIC Motor Corp Ltd has 6 percent.

A South Korean vice finance minister said the Detroit-based automaker had told him in a recent meeting that it “needed cooperation”. He declined to elaborate on whether GM had asked for financial support from the government.

Reporting by Shinhyung Lee, Writing by Ju-min Park; Editing by Stephen Coates

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