Sale of Hanjin Shipping “an option” says court

The court overseeing the receivership of Hanjin Shipping said on Wednesday that a sale of the carrier is one of many options it is considering, should the South Korean court decide that an attempt at rehabilitation is feasible.

Judge Choi Ung-young told the media that a sale was possible “in principle”, but that the court had not yet come to a decision. Bloomberg reported earlier in the day that the court had decided a sale of Hanjin Shipping was needed. The judge was clarifying the court’s position.

Comments from an analyst that Maersk Line might look to buy Hyundai Merchant Marine (HMM) and Hanjin Shipping was not taken seriously by many in the industry, Splash reported. One export noted that such a deal would impact Maersk’s balance sheet for years to come, unless Maersk could leave some of the liabilities behind when it made the acquisition.

More likely was the possibility of Maersk picking up selected assets, analysts said. The South Korean government also played down any speculation re Maersk buying Hanjin and/or HMM. Oceans and Fisheries Minister Kim Young-seok said that “even if Maersk seriously takes over the Korean shipping companies, (the ministry) would review the plan, considering such takeover goes against national interests”.