South Korea’s Kia halts assembly plant after fatal supplier accident

By Heekyong Yang and Ju-min Park

SEOUL (Reuters) – Operations at Kia Corp’s assembly plant in South Korea have been suspended due to disruptions in parts supplies, the carmaker said on Wednesday.

Poongki Industrial Co Ltd, a Kia supplier that makes chassis parts, suffered a fatal accident that resulted in the death of one worker on Tuesday and halted its own operations, causing supply disruptions at Kia’s plant, a Kia spokesperson said.

Labour authorities are investigating the accident, putting a halt to forklift truck operations at the Kia supplier’s factory, a labour ministry spokesperson said.

Poongki was not immediately available for comment.

Kia is checking on alternative sources for Poongki’s components, according to the Kia spokesperson.

The plant located in the southwestern city of Gwangju produces about 2,000 vehicles a day, according to media reports.

Kia runs two more plants in South Korea.

“It appears to be a temporary setback for Kia, hence we are not seeing much impact on Kia’s share moves,” said Lee Jae-il, an analyst at Eugene Investment & Securities, adding Kia’s decision to halt operations was probably a precaution after the accident.

Kia shares were trading down just 0.13% at 0222 GMT, in line with the broader market.

(Reporting by Ju-min Park and Heekyong Yang; Editing by Ed Davies)