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HMM takes step in right direction

April 1 - According to reports in the international media, Hyundai Merchant Marine (HMM) is making progress with plans to rescue the South Korean shipping line from bankruptcy.

HLPFI understands that HMM has signed an agreement with Korea Development Bank (KDB) and other creditors, approving its self-rescue measures and the sell-off of its brokerage arm Hyundai Securities.

Reports suggest that HMM's banks plan to establish a debt restructuring plan for the company after a three-month period of due diligence conducted by an external accounting firm - this means that the banks will postpone the repayment of HMM's principal loans and interest.

It is also reported that HMM has made good progress on charter cut negotiations with shipowners. The struggling shipping line has allegedly said that it expects normal operations by the second half of 2016.

However, some analysts are sceptical, with Alphaliner suggesting that HMM's negotiations with shipowners has only led to a reduction agreement from one party.

The struggling shipping line recorded a KRW648.76 billion (USD557.1 million) loss in 2015, compared with a profit of KRW21.8 billion (USD18.9 million) in 2014.

A bankruptcy, if it happened, would be the largest ever container shipping bankruptcy, said Alphaliner.

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