A South Korean court last Friday granted 'court receivership' status to SsangYong Motor (SYMC), paving the way for radical restructuring and the opportunity of forging a stronger and leaner company with a more diversified product range.

Court receivership is similar to US Chapter 11 status, giving SYMC protection from creditors and time to formulate and implement a corporate resuscitation plan. Under the new arrangements, the court has appointed former Hyundai Motor president Lee Yoo-il, and SYMC vice-president in charge of finance, Park Young-tae as co-legal administrators.

Like a huge number of global businesses, companies around the world have had to deal with the fall-out of the international credit crunch, a drop in demand and even higher oil and energy prices. These factors have had a particularly damaging impact on automotive companies everywhere and the decision follows SYMC's application for court receivership last month. SYMC will now present its restructuring plan by June this year.

The court's decision was welcomed by around 7,200 SYMC employees and creditors, led by state-run Korea Development Bank.