Talks on for Hanjin bailout
Negotiations between creditor banks of the financially troubled Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction Co. Philippines and a “particular entity” on a possible investment are expected to be finalized by next month, the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) said on Thursday.
“[A]s we speak they are now in what they call an exclusivity discussion with a particular entity already,” SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma said following the groundbreaking ceremony of Subic Freeport Expressway (SFEX) capacity expansion.
The official refused to identify the involved party nor comment if it was a consortium.
However, she noted the creditor banks were in talks with “more than one foreign company.”
There were also Filipino firms that expressed interest to pursue a potential takeover or investment in the bankrupt shipbuilder in Subic, the official added.
“The hope is that they’ll be able to finish discussion by the end of October and they will be able to announce by December what will be the path for Hanjin to take,” Eisma said.
The South Korean company filed for corporate rehabilitation in January. Earlier reports said it owes P412 million from five major Philippine banks—Land Bank of the Philippines, Bank of the Philippine Islands, Banco de Oro Universal Bank, Rizal Commercial Banking Corp., and Metropolitan Bank and Trust Co. It also owes $900 million obligation from creditors in its home country.
Trade Chief Ramon Lopez late in February said either local or foreign groups could take over Hanjin. However, he noted it would be better if it were to be a foreign investor as it would reflect confidence in the Philippine economy.
Ports tycoon Enrique Razon showed interest earlier this year to acquire Hanjin, but no concrete plans were revealed.
Aside from Razon, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said shipbuilders from the US, Japan, Indonesia, Australia, and Turkey were also eyeing Hanjin.