SBMA: Talks ongoing for takeover of Hanjin
Richmond Mercurio (The Philippine Star) - September 13, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The search may soon be over for an investor who can take over the shipyard facility of financially troubled Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction Philippines in Subic, according to Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) chairman and administrator Wilma Eisma.

Eisma, in an interview yesterday on the sidelines of the SFEX capacity expansion groundbreaking, said negotiations are ongoing between creditor banks and a leading candidate, with hopes of finalizing talks next month. 

“As we speak, they (creditor banks) are now in what they call an exclusivity discussion with the particular entity already,” she said, without disclosing the identity of the possible buyer.

“The hope is that they’ll be able to finish discussions by the end of October and we’ll be able to announce in December what would be the final path for Hanjin. We are really getting very close,” Eisma said.

Eisma said more than one foreign company as well as Filipino firms have expressed interest in taking over the facilities of the South Korean shipbuilder in Subic.

The Board of Investments earlier said Dutch shipbuilding firm Damen Shipyard Group, French firm Naval Group, and an American firm have promised to come up with studies and business proposals for Hanjin’s facility in Subic.

Other foreign firms have also earlier expressed interest in Hanjin’s Subic facility, with two from China, two from the US, and two from Japan.

International Container Terminal Services Inc. of ports tycoon Enrique Razon also previously said that it was trying to put a team together for a potential Hanjin offer. 

Eisma said SBMA has been continuously working closely with the Department of Labor and Employment to help the thousands of affected workers of Hanjin.

“Sadly, there are still some who have yet to be able to find their footing back again. Based on my last discussions with the creditor banks and interested foreign investors, all the 33,000, if not more, should again be accommodated should this deal push through,” she said.

In January, Hanjin filed for rehabilitation before an Olongapo City court, after being affected by the global economic slowdown, which in turn impacted trade.

It has roughly P21 billion in debts to some of the country’s biggest banks.

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