SEOUL, Jan. 21 (Yonhap) -- Pantech Corp. said Monday that the U.S. mobile chip manufacturer Qualcomm Inc. will increase its stake in the South Korean handset maker by converting Pantech's royalty debts into equity.
According to Pantech, Qualcomm will buy some 52 million Pantech shares worth US$23 million with its overdue loyalty claims, raising its overall stake in the No. 3 South Korean mobile phone maker to 13.49 percent from the current 11.46 percent.
Qualcomm earlier had converted Pantech's royalty debts worth $75 million into equity, becoming the company's second largest shareholder. State-run Korea Development Bank is currently the largest shareholder with a 13.39 percent.
Pantech said that whether Qualcomm will become its largest shareholder depends on the currency rate.
Pantech was put under a debt rescheduling program worth 1.28 trillion won in 2007. Late last year, its creditors agreed to end the five-year debt workout program for the handset maker.
In the domestic market, Pantech trails behind Samsung Electronics Co. and LG Electronics Inc. in mobile phone shipments.