Pan Ocean to become ‘Korean Cargill’

Pan Ocean to become ‘Korean Cargill’

Seoul: Pan Ocean could become South Korea’s version of global commodities giant, Cargill, says its new boss.

Speaking at an industry forum in the south of the country yesterday, Kim Hong-guk, the chairman of poultry processor Harim Group, said last month’s KRW1trn acquisition of Pan Ocean, formerly part of the STX empire, will propel the Korean conglomerate high up in the global grain trading sector.

“I have a plan to grow Pan Ocean as the Korean version of Cargill ― the top global player providing food, financial, agriculture and industrial products. The grain business was untouched by Korean companies before; but that business has huge growth potential,” Kim said.

He went on to explain how the fleet would be deployed.

“Pan Ocean’s vessels will be used to ship grain to be used in Harim Group affiliates, followed by other grain buyers in Korea and those in the Asian region,” Kim said.

Pan Ocean went into court receivership two years ago with debts of more than $5bn.

The new boss of the line said he’d mapped out a plan to lower Pan Ocean’s debt to equity ratio from the current 105% to 70% by year-end.

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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