Global shipping firm Hanjin have announced their intention to close all European operations, causing shares to plunge by 12 percent.
The company has said it is likely to cease its activities in more than 10 countries, including its European headquarters in Germany. The firm expects to initiate the closure process in Europe as early as this week, following approval from the Seoul Central District Court. Earlier in the month, Hanjin received permission to auction major assets, including its Asia-US route network, in order to commence repayments to creditors.
The announcement resulted in a 13.9 percent plunge in share price during trading in Seoul. Almost 80 percent of Hanjin’s value has been wiped out over the past year following the report of a £342 million loss.
The South-Korean firm filed bankruptcy claims earlier this year after encountering persistent financial difficulties. Hanjin Shipping then filed for receivership in August, following the refusal of creditors to go ahead with a proposed restructuring plan for the firm’s $5.4 billion (£4.4 billion) debt. This has marked the biggest bankruptcy declaration in the shipping industry to date.
The continued financial struggles of The South Korean shipping company have been attributed to the ongoing general downturn in the container shipping industry in recent years. This has been considered to be as a result of a combination of factors including weak global GDP, overcapacity on container vessels, changing consumer spending patterns as well as the economic slowdown in China.
Hanjin is South Korea’s largest shipper, and it also makes up one of the top ten in the world’s largest carriers in terms of capacity potential.