Major privatisation in East Asia
In South Korea, the government-owned stakeholders have launched a process to privatise HMM, the nation’s major shipping line since the bankruptcy of Hanjin Shipping in 2016. The sellers are the state-owned Korea Development Bank (KDB) and the Korea Ocean Business Corporation (KOBC).
KDB is the largest shareholder in HMM, with a 20.69% stake, while KOBC holds a 19.96% as the second-largest shareholder. Together with other state-owned institutions the government’s stake in HMM is 52%.
In April 2016, KDB invested in the erstwhile Hyundai Merchant Marine, to save the liner from bankruptcy, by conducting a number of debt-to-equity swaps. After the carrier’s recovery over the last seven years, especially thanks to the boom of the last two years, the state now wants to step back from its involvement.
According to the South Korean media, an advisory group has been formed to conduct the disinvestment. The carrier was rebranded HMM in March 2020. (cd)