HMM privatization plans are at an end

Plans to privatize South Korean carrier HMM appeared yesterday to have collapsed. Harim Group, had made a bid in conjunction with a local private equity firm had been the one selected by state banks (see yesterday’s IMN) but has now announced that it was pulling out of the deal to take HMM private.

“Negotiations were conducted on the main contents of the agreement between bondholders, but no agreement was reached,” said Harim stated, adding that “no private company can easily accept a deal that only makes it the major shareholder without guaranteeing actual management rights.”

The major blocking point was wat appeared to be the intention of the state to divest itself of ownership, but to retain control.

Korea Development Bank (KDB), one of the two state creditors, stated: “We were not able to reach an agreement over different views on some details.” HMM had been under state control since 2016, a period that eventually saw Hanjin Shipping collapse into bankruptcy.

Harim had bought Pan Ocean, one of the nation’s largest bulk owners, a few years ago, marking the entrance of the poultry producer into the shipping market.