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Kumho plans to finish sale by end of March

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Kumho Industrial Co., parent company of Kumho Tire U.S.A. Inc., hopes to complete the sale of its tire division by the end of March, says Kumho Tire U.S.A. President Kyu Cho.

Kumho is negotiating with the Military Mutual Aid Association, which oversees South Korea's military pension fund.

Talks have broken down between Kumho and an investment group led by JP Morgan Chase and the Carlyle Group, with whom the Korean tiremaker had been negotiating during 2001, according to Cho.

Kumho is asking $1.5 billion for 80% of the company.

Cho told mtdealer.com earlier today that Kumho is looking for "a money infusion from the outside."

The sale of Kumho's tire unit will have no impact on United States-based management or the company's current dealer relations, say Kumho officials.

"And there will be no change in our marketing strategy," says Dave Hudrlik, Kumho Tire U.S.A.'s vice president of sales.

"The sale will hopefully provide us with more products" due to a capital infusion, he adds.

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