Hanjin hopes to sell ships to European shipping giants

Time: 2016-10-19 13:43
DEBT-HEAVY Hanjin Shipping hopes to sell its ships to major European shipping companies to pay costs of discharging stranded cargo and re-emerge as an Asian regional carrier, reports the Wall Street Journal.
"The sale sign is up," said a person close to the deal. "They will reach out to Maersk Line, Mediterranean Shipping Co and others to sell some of their biggest ships that can go for up to US$90 million each."
The South Korean bankruptcy court handling Hanjin's insolvency proceedings said it plans to dispose of the firm's sales and marketing network for its Asia-US route as well as some ships.
Hanjin said it would receive letters of interest from potential bidders by October 28 and binding bids by November 7, said the Journal.
AP Moller Maersk said last month it is looking for acquisitions to grow its market share. MSC is also looking for acquisition opportunities.
But another person said Korea's Hyundai Merchant Marine will be first in line to cherry-pick on Hanjin's ships, which include five 13,000-TEUers.
Both the Korean government and Hanjin's main creditor, Korea Development Bank (KDB), have said they would back HMM in buying Hanjin assets, provided such a move would help it stay competitive. KDB is also HMM's main creditor.
HMM is looking to secure Hanjin's slice of moving Korea's exports to western markets, but would need more capacity to achieve it and keep bigger competitors like Maersk and MSC from winning major shipping contacts from electronics giants like Samsung Electronics Co and LG Electronics Corp.
HMM is negotiating to join the 2M Alliance, comprising Maersk and MSC. This puts the two European giants into a dilemma: Buy Hanjin's ships and grow their capacity, or stay put and allow HMM to make the move and reap the benefits of a partner becoming a major player in transpacific routes.
Hanjin has until December to submit a rehabilitation plan to the bankruptcy court, which will then decide whether it can continue operating or be liquidated.
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