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Conglomerates' maturing bonds to almost hit 30 tln won through 2014

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

SEOUL, Oct. 14 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's major business groups have to repay maturing bonds worth nearly 30 trillion won (US$27.9 billion) through 2014, data showed Monday, raising woes over their financial health.

The country's top 30 conglomerates' listed firms must pay back debts worth 9.7 trillion won by the end of this year, and another 19.2 trillion won by next year, according to the data by market researcher Chaebul.com.

Cash-strapped Tong Yang Group, the country's 38th-largest conglomerate, saw its bonds set to mature by the end of next year reach 1.17 trillion won.

The group has been struggling with a liquidity shortage and filed for court receivership for three of its units after failing to secure money to repay debts worth 110 billion won maturing on Sept. 30.

SK Group, South Korea's No. 3 business group, saw its debts maturing by next year reach 3.1 trillion won, trailed by Hanjin Group with 2.5 trillion won and Lotte Group with 2.2 trillion won.

Samsung Group, LG Group and Hanwha Group also held bonds worth 1 trillion won and above that mature by 2014, the data also showed.

Market watchers said local conglomerates may face a liquidity crisis amid the protracted slump in the country's bond market.

"Due to the financial crisis at Tong Yang Group, even financially healthy conglomerates will find it hard to float more bonds," said Jeon Hyo-chan, a researcher at the Samsung Economic Research Institute.

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