Hyundai Merchant Jumps to Three-Week High on Asset Sale Plan

  • Stake in Hyundai Asan, with North Korea projects, was sold
  • Company considering sale of stake in Hyundai Securities

Hyundai Merchant Marine Co. shares closed at their highest level in three weeks after announcing plans to sell stakes in affiliates, including a company that runs a resort in North Korea.

Shares of the Seoul-based company surged as much as 22 percent to 3,480 won, their highest level since Jan. 7, before closing up 12 percent at 3,195 won. That helped trim this year’s decline to 23 percent.

The cash-strapped shipping line decided to sell a stake in Hyundai Asan Corp. to affiliate Hyundai Elevator Co. for 37.4 billion won ($31 million), according to a regulatory filing. Asan oversees the Hyundai Group’s projects in North Korea, including the Mt. Geumgang resort. 

Hyundai Merchant also is preparing to sell a stake in Hyundai Securities Co. and may sell a stake in its port terminals business to improve its finances and secure liquidity, the company said in a regulatory filing Monday.

Shipping lines worldwide have been selling assets, cutting workers and considering consolidation to stem losses as years of slowing global trade and overcapacity eat into rates. Hyundai Merchant has posted a net loss for four consecutive quarters through Sept. 30.

The company also has signed a memorandum of understanding to sell a controlling stake in affiliate Pusan Newport Co. to Singapore’s PSA Corp., the Edaily newspaper reported, citing investment banking officials it didn’t identify. South Korea’s stock exchange regulator has asked the company to respond to the report. PSA declined to comment for the story.

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