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Hyundai Motor stocks unmoved by leadership change

Analysts maintain positive outlooks on stocks of Hyundai affiliates despite unsolved ownership structure issue

Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Chung Euisun delivers an online speech to employees on Wednesday after he was promoted to chairman of the group at its headquarters in Yangjae, southern Seoul. (Yonhap)
Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Chung Euisun delivers an online speech to employees on Wednesday after he was promoted to chairman of the group at its headquarters in Yangjae, southern Seoul. (Yonhap)
Stock prices of Hyundai Motor Group’s affiliates remained largely unfazed by the announcement of the South Korean conglomerate welcoming Chung Euisun as its new chairman on Wednesday, except for Hyundai Glovis, a subsidiary controlled by the new leader.

Stock in the group’s crown jewel, Hyundai Motor Company, ended 0.56 percent lower at 178,000 won ($155.16) while that of Hyundai Mobis, an automotive parts company, ended 1.7 percent lower at 231,500 won. The conglomerate’s other car manufacturing affiliate -- Kia Motors, where Chung served as CEO from 2005 to 2009 -- saw its shares fall 2.29 percent to 49,150 won.

Hyundai Glovis’ stock, meanwhile, rose 2.12 percent to 168,500 won. Chung holds a majority 23.29 percent stake in the logistics unit of the group.

The newly appointed chairman is set to control the 100 trillion won business titan by holding a mere 2.62 percent stake in Hyundai Motor Company and 0.32 percent in Hyundai Mobis thanks to the conglomerate’s complex cross-shareholding structure.

HMC, for example, owns a majority of shares in logistics firm Hyundai Glovis, which is the largest shareholder of Hyundai Mobis. The car parts maker holds a majority stake in HMC. Chung also holds 19.47 percent of automotive sales firm Hyundai AutoEver and 11.72 percent of construction firm Hyundai E&C.

The announcement that Chung was replacing his father, now Honorary Chairman Chung Mong-koo, appears not to have made much of an impact on the stock value of the auto giant’s subsidiaries, as the market perceives the news as not so dramatic.

“There will not be drastic changes at the conglomerate since Chung, as executive vice chairman, has already been a de facto leader of the conglomerate even before assuming the chairman post officially,” said Lee Chae-il, an analyst from Eugene Investment & Securities, declining to comment on the anticipated overhaul of the company’s ownership structure.

Despite many challenges ahead, such as an accelerating shift toward electric vehicles as well as the group’s incomplete governance reform, other market analysts said the new leadership at the automotive behemoth will bode well for the stock prices of companies under Hyundai’s wing.

“Automotive companies are required to have a visionary leadership more than ever before due to the rising demand for next-generation vehicles and the ongoing coronavirus pandemic,” said Kim Jin-woo, an analyst from Korea Investment & Securities. “With the new chairman at the helm, Hyundai will be able to quickly respond to the fast-changing mobility segment while improving the conglomerate’s ownership and business structures to beef up its competitiveness.”

Some also predicted that the nation’s largest automotive company will likely deploy shareholder-friendly policies while trying to be in line with the current government’s strict rules on cross-shareholdings.

“Hyundai Motor Group’s new policies that are forecast to be more favorable for shareholders than now will bring positive effects to stocks of companies under the conglomerate,” Kang Seong-jin, an analyst at KB Securities, said.

Because of stalled vaccine trials by global drugmakers, including one made by Johnson & Johnson, the domestic stock market dipped in intraday trading, and those stocks linked to Hyundai also seemed to have corrections on the day after recent rallies.

HMC rallied since July with high expectations on the company’s new drive for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

The HMC stock, whose closing price came in at 98,300 won on July 10, jumped to 171,500 won on Aug. 11. It has been on an upward trend for the past weeks.

By Kim Young-won (wone0102@heraldcorp.com)
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