Hit by the 2008 financial crisis, Doosan E&C has been struggling with a sharp decline in contracts and squeezed margins, resulting in a liquidity crisis. Doosan Heavy owns 88% in Doosan E&C

2013-11-28 16:51

Does Doosan leader feel new job worth it?

By Choi Kyong-ae
Doosan Group Chairman Park Yong-maan seems to have successfully spent his first 100 days as chief of the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI). But his successful debut as the KCCI chairman meant he has had to sacrifice some of his time and energy that could otherwise have been spent handling pending issues at Doosan Group, such as the troubled Doosan Engineering & Construction.Compared to his 13 predecessors, Park has taken a “more open” approach to figure out what the business circle wants, drawing a strong response from its staff and member companies, a KCCI official told The Korea Times by telephone.
The 57-year-old chairman took the KCCI post on Aug. 21 to fulfill the remaining term passed on by his predecessor Sohn Kyung-shik who served as chairman from Nov. 2005 through July 2013.
“Instead of the stereotyped way of working, the new chairman loves to listen to what his counterparts want to say and offers his views mainly in face-to-face meetings,” the KCCI official said asking not to be named.
Even before Park began his official work as chairman, he held meetings with businessmen in the provinces for about a week to listen to their complaints, the official said.
Differentiating himself from former leaders, Park held a town hall meeting with some 200 staff and executives to build better communication channels inside the KCCI. He also went on an outing with them along a river in Chooncheon, Gangwon Province in October.
In addition, Park has recently arranged a meeting, the first of its kind, between chiefs of the country’s five major business organizations __ the KCCI, the Federation of Korean Industries, the Korea International Trade Association, the Korea Federation of SMEs and the Korea Employers Federation __  and representatives of the ruling and opposition parties.
“Chairman Park is putting emphasis on better communicating with political leaders, explaining what the pending issues are in the business world, and helping get difficulties or complaints from companies heard,” said the official.
But Park asked the KCCI to be extra careful when they make official statements, as they on their own seldom bear fruit. Instead, he wants the KCCI to make persuasive and serious arguments about matters, the official added.
His aggressive steps as KCCI chief are being hailed by most business related groups here.
An official from Hyundai Motor Group said Park’s arrangement of a meeting between business leaders and policymakers “will be helpful for companies facing lots of challenges amid global economic uncertainty.”
However, the chairman needs to take care of tidying up matters inside Doosan Group, the power plant to construction equipment conglomerate, to regain its financial health.
Hit by the 2008 financial crisis, Doosan E&C has been struggling with a sharp decline in contracts and squeezed margins, resulting in a liquidity crisis.
Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction, which owns an 88 percent stake in Doosan E&C, announced early this year an investment of 1 trillion won ($943 million) in financial aid.
“The 1 trillion won has already been injected,” said a company spokesman.
Doosan E&C and Doosan Heavy, the world’s biggest desalination plant company by sales, are two flagship affiliates of Doosan Group, the country’s 11th-biggest conglomerate by assets.
In an extended effort to ease its credit crunch, the cash-strapped Doosan E&C is planning to raise 400 billion won by issuing new shares before the end of the year to pay back maturing corporate debt, the spokesman said.
Doosan E&C has a total of 480 billion won in debt to be settled by next year.

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (www.heroinnovator.com), the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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