South Korea’s finance minister has warned the nation’s shipping companies they need to get their acts together or else the government will be forced to intervene.
Few countries have seen more shipping lines skirt with bankruptcy in the last couple of years than South Korea. Hanjin Shipping and Hyundai Merchant Marine (HMM) – the top lines in the country – are both going through major restructuring at the moment.
Finance minister Yoo Il-ho commented on Sunday: “We cannot help but take action if the restructuring process in shipping companies fails to go smoothly.” He added: “I am most concerned with Hyundai Merchant Marine.”
HMM, which has missed a key bond repayment 10 days ago and is weighed down by debts in the region of $5bn, is desperately trying to negotiate charter contracts downwards for its sizeable chartered-in fleet.