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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

S.Korea: Poor shippers to face liquidation

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Tuesday, 21 April 2009
Local lenders are planning to put 10 to 20 percent of the nation's 38 largest shipping companies under debt workout or liquidation procedures as part of an effort to speed up the restructuring of the shipping industry, sources said yesterday. Banks are expected to single out five to seven shippers with the bleakest outlooks for debt repayment, profitability and future business before forcing them to undergo painful restructuring programs or exit the market, the sources said. They predicted that one or two of them will be weeded out.
Local banks have spearheaded a drive to overhaul shippers and other struggling industries as some face a severe liquidity squeeze.
Under guidelines set by the Korea Federation of Banks, the creditor banks will categorize the 38 shippers into four groups: A, B, C and D. Companies falling into the C group will face debt workout, while those in the D group will be categorized as "non-viable" and will face liquidation procedures.
The government plans to create a fund of up to 4 trillion won ($3 billion) to purchase idle ships from B- or C-rated firms to boost sales and prevent them from being sold at discount prices.
Meanwhile, the creditors will also begin to assess financial and business conditions at some 140 small and medium-sized shippers in May, seeking to put 20 percent of them under stringent restructuring programs.

Source: Yonhap