Hanjin Group, the parent company of the near-bankrupt container line Hanjin Shipping, has some serious debt problems at its other companies, data showed Monday.
According to chaebul.com, an online corporate research firm, one-third of the group’s 38 units, or 12 companies, are “zombies,” which means they have paid-in capital already impaired by losses or are unable to cover interest costs with what they earn.
The group as a whole had debt at 450 percent of its total equity on average for the past three years. According to an analysis by chaebul.com, this was more than six times higher than the average of Korea’s top 10 business groups, at 70.5 percent.
The biggest problem is Hanjin Shipping, one of the group’s two core units, which is currently under court receivership. The firm appears to be fast sinking under debt, which at the end of June was worth over 1,100 percent of its equity capital.
Another of the group’s core unit, Korean Air, also has a debt ratio exceeding 1,100 percent, with its liabilities rising from 20.7 trillion won ($18.7 billion) to 21.4 trillion won partly as a result of its financial support of the ailing shipping affiliate. The flag carrier airline is the largest shareholder of Hanji Shipping.
Hanjin Group on Monday announced a plan to inject another 100 billion won of fresh funds into Hanjin Shipping, with 40 billion won to come from the private coffers of the group’s Chairman Cho Yang-ho.
Shares of Korean Air and its holding firm Hanjin KAL traded lower on the news, as investors feared financial contagion from the shipping crisis.