South Korea's leading producer of the traditional Korean spirit Soju has been placed under court receivership, a report by the newswire Dow Jones said yesterday.

Quoting a Seoul District Court statement, the report said that the decision had been taken after a Jinro creditor, the bank Goldman Sachs, filed a petition with the court in April.

Despite continuing to grow its share of the soju market, Jinro has been hampered by mounting debts.

The company currently owes KRW1.72 trillion in overdue debt, having already repaid KRW959.9 billion between 1998 and 2002.

Having failed to meet a scheduled repayment of KRW70 billion due March 31, Goldman Sachs filed the court receivership petition. Jinro meanwhile asked for another grace period and a lowering of the interest rates against its debts. Goldman Sachs rejected the plan though, on the grounds of a "lack of feasibility, credibility and transparency."

The court ruling agreed with Goldman Sachs, though Jinro said it will appeal the court's ruling.

All of Jinro's creditors must submit details on how much the company owes them to the court by June 30, the court said.

"The decision to place Jinro under court receivership doesn't mean that the corporation is now going to be dismantled or be controlled by a foreign creditor. Rather it is aimed at strengthening Jinro's corporate value by rebuilding the entity through a transparent and strict restructuring and mediating interests of the creditors," the court said in the statement.