Troubled Korean handset manufacturer Pantech's stay of execution is drawing to a close as its creditors take action over the firm's 480bn won ($475m, £277m) financial black hole.
The mobile networks might bail Pantech out in order to have a rival for LG and Samsung. However, Korea Business reports that the networks are looking for nearly $180m in a debt-for-equity swap.
Pantech is an established handset manufacturer with a significant US presence through AT&T. It has a decent range of feature phones, smartphones, tablets and USB devices. One former supplier told El Reg: “There is a sense of déjà vu about this. Whether they will survive this time round is anybody's guess but in general life is very hard for smaller players who can’t purchase components at the same prices as the bigger players.”
He added: “It would be a shame if they went under as their products are generally good and they have been leaders in some areas. I had a Pantech phone with fingerprint reader almost 10 years ago.”
The fate of the company will be decided today by the Korean courts, which will look at the creditors' filings. ®