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February 9, 1999


By CBR Staff Writer

The Hyundai and LG conglomerates have given themselves two deadlines, the latest of many stretching back months, to complete merger negotiations for their semiconductor operations. The most optimistic is this weekend, in the hope that agreement can be reached before the Lunar New Year holidays, the most important time of year on the Korean calendar and traditionally a deadline for completing unfinished business to allow a fresh start in the new year. But to be on the safe side a second deadline of February 25, the first anniversary of President Kim Dae-jung’s inauguration, has also been set. It was Kim who bullied the two to the negotiating table in the first place, so the second date would be appropriate. Enabling this cautious optimism has been a deal struck between LG Semicon’s workforce, which has been on strike for two weeks, and management which gave the workers quite a lot of what they had been demanding. LG Semicon’s production lines went back into action yesterday, with the stoppage having cost in the region of $100m in lost production, with the more than 8,000 workers at the two plants guaranteed an extra six months’ salary and a minimum two-year contract when the merger takes place. With Hyundai apparently having agreed to this, the two sides are now discussing price. However they are several billion dollars apart on the question so the negotiators will still have their work cut out.

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