Jinro Ltd. will be put up for auction in March. The South Korean liquor company confirmed its intentions today (31 January).

"According to the court's decision on the company reorganisation plan, we will sell the company through competitive bidding," Jinro said in a statement. Interested parties should submit letters of intent to the lead manager, Merrill Lynch & Co., by 14 February. Potential buyers will be permitted to conduct due diligence between 17 February and 29 March, Jinro confirmed.

The company plans to receive final proposals by 30 March. A preferred bidder will be required to deposit KRW70bn (US$68.3m) and sign a binding memorandum of understanding before entering negotiations.

Local media reports suggest that Doosan Corp., Jinro's biggest rival in the traditional liquor market, CJ Corp., Hite Brewery Co. and Lotte Group are interested in buying Jinro. Foreign companies including Japan's Kirin Brewery Co. are also thought to be interested in the liquor company.

The sale price of Jinro is currently estimated at between KRW2 trillion and KRW2.5 trillion, according to local media.

Jinro was placed in receivership in 2003, after its debts rose to KRW1.72 trillion.