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.