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New Subic shipyard investor not Chinese, says SBMA chief

By: - Reporter / @bendeveraINQ
/ 04:31 PM October 02, 2019

A foreign shipbuilding giant, but not a Chinese company, could take over the Subic shipyard left behind by Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction Phils before the end of the year, according to the head of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA).

Negotiations are progressing between Hanjin, which had declared bankruptcy, and the so-called white knight, according to SBMA chair and administrator Wilma Eisma. The company planning to take over has not been identified.

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Eisma on Wednesday, Oct. 2, told reporters that negotiations between the potential new owner and five creditor banks of Hanjin—led by Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC)—were moving forward ahead of a December deadline.

The Department of Finance (DOF) was also involved in the negotiations due to the exposure of state-run Land Bank of the Philippines (Landbank) in Hanjin, Eisma said.

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Three other banks with exposure in Hanjin were BDO, BPI and Metrobank.

Eisma said the potential white knight was not a Chinese firm contrary to previous reports. She declined to give the name of the company.

But the deal, said Eisma, could happen “even sooner” than deadline.

She said it was possible for Hanjin’s 33,000 workers to return to their jobs if the white knight pours in fresh investment and uses the shipyard for its original purpose—shipbuilding

Eisma said the shipyard was attractive to investors—shipbuilder or not—because of its area, 300 hectares, and at least $2 billion in assets that dwarfed Hanjin’s $411 million debt.

The shipyard is also capable of producing bulk carriers, or cargo ships with capacity of 15,000 TEU or more.

If talks between the foreign shipbuilder and Hanjin’s creditors falter, Eisma said another company, also a shipbuilder, is waiting in the wings. /TSB

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TAGS: banks, container ships, creditors, Hanjin, SBMA, Shipbuilding, shipyard, Subic
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