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HMM readies fire sale to stave off bankruptcy

Investors in South Korea reacted positively today to Hyundai Merchant Marine’s (HMM) decision to offload stakes in a number of affiliates.

Shares leapt by as much as 22% at the debt-laden line on news that it plants to sell a stake in North Korean leisure specialist, Hyundai Asan Group as well as plans to sell stakes in a local securities firm plus reports emerged that HMM has signed a memorandum of understanding to sell a controlling stake in Pusan Newport to Singapore’s PSA Corporation. A spokesperson for PSA declined to comment when contacted by Splash about the terminal sale today.

HMM, sullied by debts nearing $5bn, is also keen to sell of its dry bulk division, having offloaded a number of other terminals and its LNG division earlier.

HMM must repay debt of KRW120bn ($100.08m) and KRW240bn, which were raised from the public, at the end of April and July respectively. Its debt ratio stands at an astonishing 980%.

Such is the dire state of HMM and fellow Korean line, Hanjin Shipping’s financials, that repeated rumours circulating Seoul suggest the two might merge. Both lines have repeatedly denied this merger.


Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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