Korea Gas Corp., the world’s biggest liquefied natural gas importer, slumped to the lowest level in three months in Seoul stock trading after the Korea Economic Daily reported the company may sell new shares.
The state utility sank 3.1 percent to 68,800 won at the close on the Korea Exchange, the lowest level since Oct. 18. The benchmark Kospi index slipped 0.8 percent.
Korea Gas may raise 750 billion won ($702 million) by selling new shares in the second half, the Korea Economic Daily reported late yesterday, citing unidentified company and government officials. Nothing has been determined, Song Jae Ho, a spokesman at the utility, said by telephone today. The utility, which aims to boost overseas gas exploration and production, has been facing criticism from lawmakers because of deteriorating debt ratios.
“There are uncertainties over exact size and timing of a potential rights offer,” Bum Su Jin, an analyst at Samsung Securities Co., wrote in a report dated yesterday. “The new share sale alone won’t have a big effect in improving debt ratios so that the company is likely to explore other alternatives” such as selling assets, she said.
Korea Gas shares tumbled 6.8 percent on Jan. 22 after a report that the company scrapped its plan to sell asset-backed securities. The utility had earlier tried to sell the securities with receivables as collateral to lower debt levels.