March 15, 2018 / 7:30 AM / 8 months ago

South Korea's Lotte Data Communication says plans IPO

SEOUL (Reuters) - Lotte Data Communication Co, a unit of South Korea’s Lotte Group, said on Thursday it has sought approval from the country’s stock exchange for an initial public offering (IPO).

The planned IPO is part of a pledge by Lotte Group to simplify its holding structure through IPOs, as well as via its formation of holding company Lotte Corp (004990.KS) late last year, Lotte Data said in a statement.

The undertaking was originally announced by Lotte Group Chairman Shin Dong-bin, who was jailed for bribery last month, sparking concerns of a leadership vacuum.

“This is an extension of Lotte’s previous moves to make its ownership more transparent,” said Park Ju-gun, head of research firm CEO Score.

“Lotte is likely to be even more active in such moves, as the chairman still faces appeals.”

The Seoul Central Court in February sentenced Shin to two years and six months in prison in a case tied to an influence-peddling scandal that has rocked the country’s business and political elite.

Lotte Group has also said it is seeking the right time to list Hotel Lotte, which had been pursuing an estimated $4.5 billion IPO in 2016 before it was scupper.

Lotte Data, which provides IT services and reported revenue of 691.3 billion won ($649.27 million) in 2017, did not give details on the potential IPO dates or size.

Reporting by Joyce Lee; Editing by Shri Navaratnam

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