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Struggling E-Land plans to raise 1 trillion won in first half

Jan 05,2018
E-Land World, the de facto holding company of troubled retail conglomerate E-Land, pledged Thursday to complete last year’s goal of attracting one trillion won ($940 million) from external investors within this year’s first half.

The plan is part of a grand initiative to improve the group’s finances, which have been struggling for the last few years. In September, E-Land announced that it was in talks with a private equity firm to receive 1 trillion won of investment by December - that deal was not closed.

In an official statement on Thursday, E-Land’s disclosed that it succeeded in securing 200 billion won of the one trillion won goal from different investors.

“We received 100 billion won from Anchor Equity Partners, a global private equity firm, on Dec. 29 and are discussing with another foreign investor in order to receive payments worth 100 billion won this month,” said E-Land’s statement.

The 200 million won will lower the company’s debt ratio to below 200 percent. In late 2016 it reached as high as 315 percent.

Last year, the company went through a major reform in its business portfolio including sell-offs of several established fashion brands including Modern House and Teenie Weenie. It also reorganized its subsidiaries, moving closer to a holding company structure - another major goal set but not achieved last year.

Thursday’s statement said that E-Land had been aggressively pushing discussions to receive the one trillion won from a single investor, but were unable to close the deal.

“The company’s earnings and state of liquidity has been showing signs of improvement recently so we decided to take a more long-term perspective when it comes to attracting new investors,” it added. In November, E-Land’s fashion division recorded its highest sales ever, at 71 billion won.

In the past, E-Land raised capital through loans from financial institutes, leaning on the reputation of its successful brands. As some brands started to lose popularity in recent years, its capital also started to suffer.

BY SONG KYOUNG-SON [song.kyoungson@joongang.co.kr]