Hyundai Motor Group shares gain after Elliott calls for major change

FILE PHOTO: A Hyundai Motor's booth is seen near the Pyeongchang Olympic Plaza in Pyeongchang, South Korea, February 11, 2018. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji/File Photo

SEOUL (Reuters) - Shares of three key affiliates of Hyundai Motor Group gained ground on Tuesday after U.S. activist hedge fund Elliott Management stepped up pressure for changes in the South Korean companies.

Elliott Management, which has stakes worth more than $1 billion in the affiliates, on Monday called on the group to adopt a holding company structure, return excess cash and offer a clear dividend policy, among other suggestions.

The giant autos-to-steel group last month announced a plan to streamline its ownership structure, responding to calls from the government and investors for greater transparency and better governance South Korea’s family-controlled conglomerates, or chaebols.

But Elliott said the plan was not sufficient to address the discount in Hyundai Motor Group shares compared with its overseas peers.

Hyundai Motor 005380.KS shares rose as much as 3.1 percent to their highest level in three months. Hyundai Mobis 012330.KS stocks were up 2.3 percent and Kia Motors 000270.KS rose 0.8 percent in the flat wider market .KS11.

Reporting by Hyunjoo Jin; Editing by Stephen Coates