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Korea Gas Shares Tumble on Report ABS Sale Scrapped: Seoul Mover

Korea Gas Shares Tumble on Report ABS Sale Scrapped
Korea Gas Corp. liquefied natural gas tanks stand at the company's plant in Incheon, South Korea. Korea Gas is the world’s biggest liquefied natural gas importer. Photographer: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg

Korea Gas Corp., the world’s biggest liquefied natural gas importer, tumbled the most in more than three years in Seoul share trading after a report that the company scrapped its plan to sell asset-backed securities.

The shares retreated 6.8 percent to 72,200 won at the close on the Korea Exchange, its steepest loss since Sept. 30, 2009. It’s the worst-performing stock on the MSCI Asia Pacific Index today.

Korea Gas decided not to sell 5.4 trillion won ($5.1 billion) of asset-backed securities after getting guidelines from the Korea Accounting Standards Board, the Korea Economic Daily reported today, citing an unidentified company official. The utility had earlier tried to sell ABS with receivables as collateral to lower debt levels.

“The news is hurting sentiment but I think today’s decline is excessive,” Shin Ji Yoon, an analyst at KTB Investment & Securities Co., said by phone today. “If this sale is canceled, there are other alternatives to help improve its finances such as a tariff increase.”

Korea Gas hasn’t determined its position on the sale “for the moment,” Song Jae Ho, a spokesman at the utility, said by phone today. Daishin Securities Co. reduced its share-price estimate on Korea Gas to 90,000 won from 93,000 won, citing lower chances of an ABS sale.

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