SK Shipping in the running for HMM’s bulkers

SK Shipping in the running for HMM’s bulkers

Seoul: Cash strapped Hyundai Merchant Marine (HMM) is willing to hear offers for its dry bulk division. The Seoul Economic Daily reports that SK Shipping has submitted a letter of intent for the division as have up to seven private equity funds. The newspaper reckons HMM will raise up to $315m from the sale. On HMM’s dry bulk books are 12 ships with an average age six years ranging in size from handymax to newcastlemax plus nine newbuildings for delivery in 2016 and 2017. The bulk division totals 3.09m dwt, according to online pricing platform, VesselsValue.com.

The dry bulk sale would leave HMM with its bedrock container division of 25 ships and eight crude and product tankers, having sold off its LNG division recently. HMM’s increasing container focus is a far cry from its position at the turn of the century when it was involved in many different sectors. When it hit rough times 12 years ago it sold off its roros and most of its terminals around the world.

With Hanjin Shipping now controlled by private equity, Pan Ocean owned by a poultry group, and many other Korean lines falling by the wayside, the Korean maritime scene has contracted considerably in the past five years.

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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