India’s Mahindra says plans bid for Korea’s Ssangyong

NEW DELHI, August 7, 2010 (AFP) – India’s leading sport utility vehicle maker Mahindra and Mahindra announced Saturday plans to bid for a majority stake in cash-strapped South Korea’s Ssangyong Motor Co as the firm seeks to go global. Mahindra’s board of directors approved the bid at a board meeting Saturday after the company carried out due diligence on Ssangyong, South Korea’s fourth-largest automaker by sales, a statement said.

Mahindra, India’s largest sport utility vehicle maker by sales, is among six companies worldwide that were shortlisted in June to carry out due diligence on the South Korean company which is under court-ordered bankruptcy protection.

The last date for filing bids for a more than 50 percent stake in Ssangyong is August 10.

Mahindra, which has been seeking to diversify in the automotive sector and become a global utility vehicle player, is seeking to tie up with Ssangyong to gain access to technology that it can use to boost its own product line.

Company officials have been tightlipped about how much Mahindra might have to pay to make a successful bid, but analysts have estimated that Ssangyong could be worth around 500 million dollars.

The board has “authorised submission of a