Friday, September 11, 2015

Samsung seeking to sell its private jets, choppers: sources

SEOUL, Sept. 11 (Yonhap) -- South Korean tech giant Samsung Electronics Co. is trying to sell its private planes and helicopters, industry sources said Friday, a move seen as part of Samsung Group heir apparent Lee Jae-yong's drive for efficiency amid a shakeup.

The world's biggest smartphone maker is apparently in talks with Korean Air Lines Co. to sell three airplanes -- two Boeing 737s and a Bombardier 700, according to Samsung officials.

It is also looking to hand over six of the seven helicopters it owns to Korea Airport Service Co., a subsidiary of Korean Air, they said.

"We are in the process of pursuing the sale and we've yet to reach an official agreement," a Samsung official said, declining to give details on the price, citing confidentiality.

"The management has decided to dispose of assets that are less related to the business."

According to industry sources, a Boeing 737 is worth around 70 billion won (US$59.2 million) and a Bombardier 700 costs about 60 billion won.

A spokesperson from Korean Air declined to comment.

Samsung's push for such an asset sale is largely seen as coming from Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong, industry watchers said.

Since his father Lee Kun-hee, the group's patriarch, became bedridden after a heart attack last May, the 47-year-old scion has practically been in charge of the richest conglomerate in Korea with 67 affiliates under its wing.

Samsung Group has been conducting a restructuring through a slew of sales and mergers of the key affiliates to streamline its complex ownership structure in preparation for the leadership transfer.

Lee Jae-yong, who barely appears in public, is known to stress practicality as opposed to "looks." For most of the latest overseas trips, he flew by a commercial plane, either on his own or accompanied by a small group of staff.


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