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Ssangyong extends bid deadline

SEOUL, Jul 13 – Ailing South Korean automaker Ssangyong Motor said on Tuesday it had extended the deadline for final bids for a controlling stake in the firm following requests from bidders for more time.

The deadline was extended from July 20 to August 10.

Ssangyong said six bidders, including an alliance of France\’s Renault and Japan\’s Nissan Motor, had joined the race.

The preliminary bidders also include Young An Hat, a local headgear company which owns bus maker Daewoo Bus, and India\’s top utility vehicle company Mahindra and Mahindra, Yonhap news agency said.

The cost of the stake is estimated at between 400 billion won (330 million dollars) and 500 billion won (410 million dollars), it said.

Ssangyong, the country\’s smallest automaker, has been under bankruptcy protection since February 2009 after its former Chinese parent, Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp, declined to pump in more funds.

Auto analysts say the company\’s high-end gas-guzzling luxury sedans and sport utility vehicles had apparently discouraged some potential bidders.

Ssangyong\’s once-militant labour union, which staged a violent occupation of the plant for nearly 80 days last year in protest at mass redundancies, was another potentially discouraging factor.

Workers at the plant have since cut ties with the militant Korean Confederation of Trade Unions. The union has agreed to let management determine wage levels for this year.

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