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Bidding for Coway to be held next week as scheduled: source

The main bidding for Coway Co., South Korea's top water purification maker, will be held early next week as scheduled, a market source said Monday, dismissing prospects that it could be delayed due to insufficient market interest.

A consortium led by CJ Group and China's Haier has been cited as a highly potential player in the bid for Coway with an identified China-based strategic investor later taking part. The exact number of companies who joined after the preliminary bidding process has not been available.

Recently, rumors are spreading that Carlyle Group, which has been cited as a major potential bidder, might drop out, raising prospects that the scheduled bidding date could be delayed until December due to insufficient market interest.

Some even have raised the possibility that MBK Partners, a private equity fund that holds the largest stake in Coway, could withdraw its push to sell the water purification company altogether.

An MBK Partners official dismissed the rumors, saying that the bidding will take place as scheduled on Nov. 30.

"For the time being, we will focus on selling our Coway stake," he added.

MBK Partners acquired a 30.9 percent stake in Woongjin Coway Co. in 2013 from the then cash-strapped Woongjin Group for about 1.2 trillion won ($1 billion). The company was later renamed Coway.

In August, the Seoul-based private equity fund picked Goldman Sachs as the lead manager of the sale of its stake in the company, estimated at 3 trillion won

In the first half of this year, Coway posted 160.1 billion won in net profit, with operating profit and sales reaching 210.6 billion won and 1.03 trillion won, respectively, up 12.4 percent and 1.5 percent from a year earlier. (Yonhap)