Court Allows Sale of Hanjin U.S. Assets
Over the protests of creditors, a United States bankruptcy judge in New Jersey yesterday approved the sale of Hanjin Shipping’s majority stake in Total Terminals International.
The assets involved include Pier T at the Port of Long Beach and Terminal 46 at the Port of Seattle. The 54-percent stake in the company will be sold to Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), as part of a compex, $275 million debt and equity deal. MSC currently operates both facilities.
Hanjin Shipping filed for bankruptcy in a South Korean court last August.
Hanjin’s creditors—which include container leasing companies and others that have provided goods and services to the insolvent shipping line—objected to the sale, arguing that the price was too low and that the proceedings were rushed.
But following a two-day trial and consultations with his counterpart in the South Korean court, U.S. bankruptcy Judge John K. Sherwood disagreed with the creditors, saying the price tag was as good as they were going to get given the current state of global ocean shipping.
“By not approving this deal, we all the run the risk that there is no money from Hanjin from this transaction,” Sherwood said.
“I’m satisfied that there is certainly no discrimination against U.S. creditors,” he added, referring to the legal proceedings in South Korea.
Also mucking up the works in the New Jersey court was an objection from the Port of Seattle and the Northwest Seaport Alliance in an effort to block the sale until MSC posted a security deposit on the tmerinal lease. But the port and NWSA withdrew their objection after MSC produced a written corporate guarantee that secured rent payments for two years.
In a separate transaction, MSC agreed to sell a minority interest in TTl to Hyundai Merchant Marine, South Korea’s largest remaining shipper after Hanjin’s collapse.