As expected, despite weeks of denials, Hyundai Development Co. (HDC) has postponed indefinitely its planned acquisition of a controlling 31% stake in heavily indebted Asiana Airlines (OZ, Seoul Incheon), it revealed in a regulatory filing on April 29 - one day before the closing date.

The acquisition date has now been resettled from April 30 to an unspecified “date agreed by both parties,” HDC said in the filing. More time is needed for the necessary conditions to be met, it added, including approval by a foreign regulator that has been delayed.

An HDC spokesperson told the Korea Herald that the closing date will probably come after May, considering the approvals that the group still needs to obtain. HDC had to get approval from six countries Asiana operated to. Five of these - China, Kazakhstan, Turkey, the US, and Uzbekistan - granted their approval, while the sixth, Russia, has not, local media reported.

HDC and Mirae Asset Group won the bidding in November 2019 to buy the stake in Asiana for KRW2.5 trillion won (USD2 billion) and signed the deal the following month. But with the coronavirus pandemic, the carrier has suspended most of its lucrative international routes.

Low-cost carrier Jeju Air (7C, Jeju) also delayed, on April 28, the closing date for acquiring a 51.17% stake in fellow LCC Eastar Jet (ZE, Seoul Gimpo) for KRW54.4 billion (USD45 million) ostensibly due to delays in obtaining foreign regulators’ approvals, this time from Vietnam and Thailand.