Several South Korean conglomerates have been mentioned as potential buyers of Asiana Airlines, mainly based on their financial stability and the ability to afford the airline's 880-million U.S. dollar price tag.
Among those mentioned is SK Group, the nation's third-largest conglomerate.
The telecommunications and chips giant has denied all rumors of being interested in taking over Asiana Airlines, and SK chairman Chey Tae-won gave no comment when asked by reporters.
However, market analysts note the group's sizeable capital resources including SK Hynix and fundamental growth strategy as the main reasons for the group's possible interest.
The acquisition would also make SK the second-largest conglomerate by assets, which is another tempting reason for SK Group.
Hanwha is another potential bidder, considering the group owns an aircraft engine manufacturing unit.
Aekyung, the owner of South Korea’s Jeju Air, may also be interested, as Asiana Airlines may be a good addition to further expand into the aviation sector.
For Shinsegae, purchasing the airline may help the conglomerate grow its duty-free business.
While other conglomerates including CJ Group are denying any interest, experts say the denials could just be a business strategy, to prevent the sale price from soaring.
"Interested corporations have already calculated if taking over the company is beneficial to them. They're remaining silent so that they can work on getting a deal in their favor."
The chairman of the State Development Bank, Lee Dong-gull, suggests that Asiana Airlines' affiliates, including Busan Air, will be included in the sale, and that Kumho Asiana's main creditors will come up with detailed financing plan before April 25th.
As any plans to take over the heavily-indebted airline are still in their infancy, it will take at least 6 months before we know which group will be Asiana Airlines' new owner.
Kim Da-mi, Arirang News.