Hyundai Merchant Surges by Record 30% Amid Korea Discussions

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Hyundai Merchant Marine Co. gained a record 30 percent in Seoul trading on expectations the company would benefit if talks between North and South Korea lead to an easing in tensions between the nations.

The move is the biggest since the company listed on the market in October 1995. The shares closed at 6,510 won. The stock was the best performer on the MSCI Asia Pacific Index today.

Talks between the two Koreas on how to lower tensions that started over the weekend have continued into the morning, with no indications of when it will end. Hyundai Merchant stands to gain from improved relations with the North as the company has the biggest exposure to North Korea among South Korean companies, according to an analyst at Shinyoung Securities Co.

“Hyundai Merchant always tends to move whenever there’s an event linked to North and South Korea,” said Um Kyung A, the Shinyoung analyst in Seoul. “There are expectations that the talks could lead to easing in tensions and possibly improving ties between North and South Koreas.”

Hyundai Asan Corp., which is 67.6 percent owned by Hyundai Merchant, built and operated a resort in North Korea’s Mount Geumgang. North Korea seized South Korean assets, including the resort, in 2010 after relations between the two soured.

If relations improve, Hyundai could benefit because North Korean authorities could consider giving back the asset, Um said.

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