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Korean Air gets Vietnam’s regulatory approval for acquisition of Asiana

The national flag carrier is still awaiting the green light from five other regulatory bodies for its merger plan

By Nov 16, 2021 (Gmt+09:00)

Korean Air is in the middle of completing its acquisition of Asiana.
Korean Air is in the middle of completing its acquisition of Asiana.


Korean Air Lines Co. (KAL) said on Tuesday it has obtained regulatory approval from Vietnam for its 1.8 trillion won ($1.6 billion) deal to acquire smaller Korean rival Asiana Airlines Inc.

The South Korean flag carrier said it expects the latest approval to facilitate its process to complete the acquisition, preferably by the end of next year with an aim to launch the merged entity in 2024.

In January, Korean Air submitted related documents to antitrust regulators of nine countries for the mandatory review of its business combination with Asiana.

It must obtain the green light for its Asiana acquisition from the nine countries but has so far received approval from only four  -- Turkey, Taiwan Thailand and Vietnam.

It is awaiting the go-ahead from the aviation authorities in four other countries – Korea, the US, Japan, China – as well as the European Union.

Korean Air’s parent Hanjin KAL Corp. and state-run Korea Development Bank, the main creditor of the two airlines, announced in November of last year that KAL will acquire a 63.9% stake in debt-ridden Asiana for 1.8 trillion won.

Once completed, the merged entity will emerge as the world’s seventh-largest airline.

KDB Chairman Lee Dong-gull at a media briefing
KDB Chairman Lee Dong-gull at a media briefing

In September this year, KDB Chairman Lee Dong-gull urged the government to swiftly finish its review of the merger plan to help revitalize the Korean aviation industry.

Last week, Korean Air surprised the market on Friday by posting its highest third-quarter operating profit in five years, boosted by strong demand for cargo traffic amid a gradual global economic recovery from the pandemic.

Write to Jung-hwan Hwang at jung@hankyung.com

In-Soo Nam edited this article.

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