The government through the Board of Investments has started looking for foreign investors to provide quick assistance to beleaguered Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction Company Philippines after the Korean shipbuilder filed for corporate rehabilitation with the Olongapo Regional Trial Court.
An official of the BoI hinted Friday an investor-creditor of HBIS Group Co. Ltd., one of the world’s biggest steelmakers, expressed interest to take over the operations of Hanjin.
HBIS is the proponent of the $4.4-billion integrated steel project that will rise within the Phividec Industrial Authority compound in Mindanao.
A Department of Trade and Industry official also said the HBIS investor and another private company had expressed initial interest on financially-strapped Hanjin.
“We are actually on our toes to look for investors who can take over the company, the soonest possible time since this may also impact on the country’s vision to be a shipping hub in the near future,” the official who declined to be identified said.
He said the BoI was willing to help Hanjin scout for investors who can provide immediate help to save the company from further losses. The agency recently met with Turkish and Chinese investors interested in putting in fresh capital into Hanjin.
He said an investor with about $500 million to $600 million can easily take over Hanjin’s operations with A provision for at least $12 million in the monthly operational budget.
He noted that Hanjin was concerned on the welfare of some 3,800 remaining employees if the company shut down operations.
Hanjin has a standing $412 million in obligation to at least five local creditors and about $900 million from supply creditors in South Korea.
Hanjin’s total investments in the Subic Bay Freeport Zone have reached $2.6 billion.
Hanjin, the biggest foreign investor in the Subic Freeport, filed on Tuesday a petition with the Regional Trial Court in Olongapo City to initiate voluntary rehabilitation.
The company has 68 pending contracts that may face cancellation if the planned rehabilitation is not approvedl.
Hanjin, which has focused in building high-value vessels, was established in 2006 as a subsidiary of Hanjin Heavy Industries & Construction Co. Ltd., a multi-national company that provides shipbuilding, construction and plant services in South Korea and other parts of the world.
The company was responsible for the construction of the world’s biggest cargo and container ships, bulk carriers, liquefied petroleum gas carriers, very large crude oil carriers and very large ore carriers.
Hanjin has delivered since 2008 123 vessels to valued clients across the globe, cementing its foothold in the highly competitive shipbuilding market.