SEOUL -- South Korea's Halla Engineering & Construction Corp. will enter the bidding for local auto parts maker Mando Corp., the builder said on Thursday.
Hyundai Motor Co. had been considered the sole remaining bidder for unlisted Mando after Germany's Siemens and U.S.-based TRW Automotive Holdings Corp. backed out of negotiations.
Mando, a maker of brake and steering systems, was put up for sale early this year by a consortium of buyout firms, JP Morgan Partners and Affinity Equity Partners, which paid $446 million in 2000 for a 72.3 percent stake.
"Our chairman recently ordered top management to begin preparations to buy Mando," a Halla spokesman said by telephone.
"We have already set aside 200 billion won to 300 billion won ($193 million to $289 million) for the takeover and will secure more money from domestic investors."
Halla Engineering, which has a market value of $285 million, was a former affiliate of bankrupt Halla Group, Mando's one-time parent.
A Mando spokesman said Halla, the second-largest shareholder in the parts maker with an 18.5 percent stake, would have priority in purchasing the stake.
Halla could review Hyundai Motor's final offer and decide whether to match it or not, he added.
Hyundai Motor said in September it was eager to buy Mando as it sought strategic alliances with foreign and local auto parts makers to bolster competitiveness and improve auto quality.
Hyundai and its affiliate Kia Motors Corp. account for some 70 percent of Mando's total sales, according to the car parts firm.
In July, Hyundai teamed up with Siemens to take a controlling stake in another local auto parts maker, Hyundai Autonet, for $231 million.
Meanwhile, Hyundai denied a report in the JoongAng Ilbo newspaper on Thursday that it had agreed to buy Mando for about 700 billion won, saying nothing had been decided yet.
Mando, which went bankrupt in 1997 after the Asian financial crisis, posted sales of $1.3 billion in 2004.