The Wall Street Journal has details of a letter sent by Hanjin Shipping ceo Suk Tae-soo, asking for help from owners of its chartered fleet and also from terminal operators. The Korean line, which is seeking to restructure, has followed the lead of compatriot Hyundai Merchant Marine (HMM) in reaching out to business partners to help ease its financial burden. Hanjin has urgent debts to repay next month.
“Upon careful analysis of the business outlook and financial projections with the assistance of outside experts, our management has come to the conclusion that our own efforts alone may fall short of fully resolving the liquidity issues that we are facing,” the letter from the Hanjin ceo said.
Hanjin, whose debts are in excess of $5bn, last week submitted a formal request to state-run Korea Development Bank, its main creditor, to restructure its debt and provide an aid package in return for asset sales and charter rate cuts.
Hanjin’s annual bill for chartering in ships is in the region of $1bn, something its creditors are determined to cut by at least 30%. Hanjin operates 95 boxships, of which 58 are chartered, and 56 bulk carriers and tankers, of which 33 are chartered.
South Korean Finance Minister Yoo Il-ho has warned that if Hanjin or HMM fail to get their charter fees cut then they will be put into receivership.