February 28, 2021, will be a crucial date for Ssangyong. That is the deadline set to repay the KRW 301 billion (approx. PHP 13.3 billion) loan the South Korean automaker they received from Mahindra. Things have gotten so dire for Ssangyong that they filed for bankruptcy just before 2020 ended.
With that, it's unknown if Ssangyong can survive the decade, let alone the next two years. Making matters more difficult for them is Mahindra's decision to abandon the KRW 230 billion extra fund that was supposed to help the automaker.
Piled on top of that is the Indian conglomerate's announcement to sell off their stake in Ssangyong. It seems that Mahindra wants to get rid of Ssangyong and the financial baggage that's been affecting their profits. As of December 2020, Ssangyong still owes Mahindra KRW 60 billion.
If Ssangyong fails to pay the loan, the matter will be taken to court. From there, the fate of the automaker is in the hands of the South Korean government. With the country's government prioritizing the coronavirus outbreak over everything else, Ssangyong will likely take the back seat and might receive little from them.
Mahindra wants to avoid the drama of legal proceedings and is hoping to find a buyer before February 28. If not, the Mumbai-based automaker is looking at lengthy proceedings that could take years, costing the company even more and derail more plans.
At the moment, HAAH Automotive Holdings is Ssangyong's best bet. The American company is backed by Chery Motors, which plans to sell cars in North America soon. Reports say that HAAH offered KRW 300 billion to take Ssangyong off Mahindra's hands. If it's true, Ssangyong's future will be less uncertain.
Aside from Mahindra, Ssangyong also owes JPMorgan Chase, BNP Paribas, Bank of America and BofA Securities, and the Korean Development Bank. The next two months will be crucial for Ssangyong, and it will be a fight for survival from this moment.