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Hyundai Group chairwoman to buy W30b worth shares in shipping arm

Hyundai Group chairwoman Hyun Jeong-eun said she would donate some 30 billion won ($24.4 million) of her personal funds in a bid to revive her group’s cash-strapped shipping unit Hyundai Merchant Marine, the firm said Thursday. 

Hyundai Group chairwoman Hyun Jeong-eun
Hyundai Group chairwoman Hyun Jeong-eun

“We have decided to raise share capital by issuing 6 million shares (at 5,000 won apiece) through a third-party allotment,” Hyundai Merchant Marine said in a regulatory filing.

Hyun and her mother Kim Moon-hee will buy around 30 billion won worth of the newly issued shares, 4 million and 2 million, respectively.

Hyundai Group has been working to salvage Hyundai Merchant, one of its key units, which has been in the red for years due to a decline in freight rates and global trade.

The newly issued shares will be listed on the stock market here on March 4, it added.

“The participation in Hyundai Merchant Marine’s share capital increase is part of Hyundai Group’s intensive self-help measures to improve financial structure and resolve the liquidity crisis of the flagship firm. It is also a responsible act initiated by the largest shareholder to normalize the company,” an official at Hyundai Group said.

Earlier this month, the unprofitable company said it would receive 100 billion in emergency funding, comprising 30 billion won from the chairwoman and 70 billion won from asset sales including a stake in Hyundai Asan and Hyundai Securities.

Meanwhile, the new chairman of the state-run Korea Development Bank, the main creditor of Hyundai Merchant Marine, urged the shipping firm for drastic measures to keep its business afloat including cutting high charter costs.

“Selling Hyundai Securities is one of the ways (for the self-help plan) but stakeholders’ bold commitment is essential for solving fundamental problems,” KDB chief Lee Dong-geol said in a press conference.

The shipping company has 4.8 trillion won of debt and only 200 billion won of available cash.

By Park Han-na (