South Korean Hyundai Merchant Marine (HMM) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Maersk and the Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) to join the carriers’ 2M alliance in April 2017.
This followed agreements between HMM and bond-holders to adjust debt and shipowners to adjust charter-hire.
The carrier said in a statement that with this “announcement, HMM has successfully completed all conditions set out in the voluntary agreement with creditors from March 2016,” adding that “in accordance with the completion of such preconditions, the planned debt-for-equity swap by creditors will be executed as planned”.
HMM claimed that its financial structure will be significantly improved upon completion of the debt-for-equity swap.
The MoU signed by HMM and the 2M’s members is a binding agreement to HMM’s entry to the 2M Vessel Sharing Agreement (VSA) “upon finalising negotiations and approval procedures in each country”.
The South Korean carrier claimed that accessing the 2M VSA network will allow the company “to strengthen its service offering and achieve improved cost competitiveness”.
“The 2M carriers will benefit from a reinforced service competency in Asia and improved network cover in the trans-pacific area,” HMM added in a statement.
A company’s spokesperson said: “Based on the company’s sound financial structure, HMM will put its utmost efforts into improving our service offering to clients and to continue increasing operational competency in the second half of this year to continue improving profitability of our company.”
In March this year, the company’s shareholders agreed to a capital reduction with the aim to keep HMM listed on the Korea stock exchange as the company was pushed closer to bankruptcy by its creditors’ rejection of its offer to reschedule debt.
In May, HMM was excluded by the newly-formed “THE Alliance”, which includes its compatriot carrier Hanjin, despite having been expected by industry experts to join it.