South Korean court considering sale of Hanjin Shipping

A tug boat pulling away from the Hanjin Greece container ship after it docked for unloading at the Port of Long Beach in California.
A tug boat pulling away from the Hanjin Greece container ship after it docked for unloading at the Port of Long Beach in California. PHOTO: AFP

SEOUL (BLOOMBERG) - The South Korean court studying the receivership application of Hanjin Shipping Co is considering starting the sale process of the entire container line, Mr Choi Ung-young, a judge and a spokesman for the Seoul Central District Court, told Bloomberg News.

The court has called for a meeting of officials who are evaluating the container line, Mr Choi said in Seoul on Wednesday (Sept 28). The court thinks it's important to start the process sooner rather than later, but the sale plan will be dependent on market conditions, he said.

The court would prefer to have companies in the shipping industry take over Hanjin Shipping, rather than investment funds, to obtain the expertise necessary to help the troubled shipping line survive, Mr Choi said.

Shares of Hanjin Shipping rose 5.3 per cent to 1,195 won as of 11.49am in Seoul trading, trimming the decline this year to 67 per cent.

Hanjin Shipping, South Korea's largest sea container-shipping company, filed for bankruptcy protection last month. Smaller Korean rival Hyundai Merchant Marine Co was said to be looking at buying some assets of Hanjin, according to people with direct knowledge of the matter.

Korea Development Bank -  Hyundai Merchant's largest shareholder and the biggest lender to Hanjin - and the Seoul Central District Court have been pushing to find a solution to the troubles at Hanjin, whose filing has roiled the global supply-chain industry.