- At long last, Hanjin Shipping gained approval to sell its 54% stake in Total Terminals International (TTI) to the Mediterranean Shipping Company (HMM), The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.
- The $78 million offer submitted by MSC was the highest Hanjin received, as it also included relief from debt to the tune of roughly $54 million.
- Further, MSC's slot sharing partner Hyundai Merchant Marine (HMM) then purchased a 20% share in TTI, to become minority owner alongside MSC's 80% share. HMM had previously withdrawn from the bid due to the high debt to asset ratio.
Delays abounded for the sale of Hanjin's portion of TTI, mostly due to the protests of U.S. creditors who objected to the resolution of Hanjin's debts in South Korea, which the sale portended.
However, Bankruptcy Judge John K. Sherwood of New Jersey approved the sale regardless of claims of insufficient preparation and too rapid execution. Creditors, who are mostly container or chassis lessors allegedly owed for claims of service provided after the bankruptcy filing, also petitioned the Judge for access to the sale proceeds, implying possible bad faith about their rights as perceived by the South Korean courts.
The Journal of Commerce reports Judge Sherwood noted U.S. creditors were indeed protected, and deemed their demand for immediate access to the sale proceeds unfair and in violation of what the laws were designed for.
With the conclusion of the terminal sale, HMM and MSC gain access to one of the largest ports in the U.S. by capacity and throughput, allowing them to expand their slot allocations in the U.S. West Coast and improve the consortium's competitiveness.