China’s Doublestar Group and its subsidiary Xingwei Korea have signed contract to acquire a 45 per cent stake in Kumho through a €492 million private equity placement. Doublestar has therefore become Kumho’s ultimate controlling shareholder. The agreement has been signed with Kumho and its creditor representative Korea Development Bank.
Kumho Tire manufactures a full range of tyres under the Kumho and Marshal brands. Kumho currently has 60 million unit annual capacity at its eight tyre plants. It has three manufacturing facilities in South Korea, one of which includes the Kumho Research and Development center. There are a further three plants in China, one plant in Vietnam, and one plant in the United States.
In addition to the aforementioned largest research and development facility in South Korea, there are two other centers in the USA (Akron, Ohio) and and in the UK (Birmingham). These latter two R&D centres service the US and European tire markets respectively. It also has two other research centers are located in Germany and China.
Doublestar has all its tyre manufacturing plants (modern facilities) except for a joint venture truck and OTR tire plant in Kazakhstan.
Doublestar plans to maintain the current workforce at least for the next three years with no drastic salary cuts. It also has undertaken to retain its shares in Kumho for at least five years.
The Chinese tyre maker last global ranking in terms of sales was in the low thirties 30 with a strong focus on the commercial vehicle tyres. Kumho last global ranking was 14th. Just like ChemChina’s takeover of Pirelli, it is expected that Doublestar will not change or interfere in existing successful global sales and marketing of Kumho and marshal brands.