HMM will cut off its last remaining link to the Hyundai chaebol as South Korea’s flagship liner operator will move out of the Hyundai Group’s building in downtown Seoul in June.
HMM will occupy nine floors of the newly built skyscraper, Park One Tower in the Yeouido financial district, in proximity to its main shareholder Korea Development Bank.
HMM’s spokesperson told Container News that it is relocating because the lease on its office in Hyundai Group’s building in Jongno district ends in July.
Formerly called Hyundai Merchant Marine, HMM was part of the Hyundai Group that included Hyundai Elevator, Hyundai Securities, Hyundai Asset Management and Hyundai Savings Bank.
In 2016, HMM faced bankruptcy after years of losses, and the Hyundai Group sold its majority stakes in all its subsidiaries, except Hyundai Elevator, to rescue the shipping business. Eventually, KDB, HMM’s main creditor, executed a debt-for-equity swap.
Subsequently, to reflect its new ownership, HMM’s containers were redesigned, with “HMM” replacing the Hyundai name on the boxes.
In 2020, the company was officially renamed HMM.
In the last two years, soaring freight rates resulting from Covid-19-related logistical bottlenecks have resulted in record earnings for the liner industry. HMM is expecting a record operating profit of around KRW7 trillion (US$5.89 billion) for 2021.
As HMM president Bae Jae-hoon’s current term is set to end on 27 March, the company’s move to Park One Tower has a new meaning, as the skyscraper is the tallest skyscraper in Yeouido and the third tallest building in South Korea.
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Author: Martina Li
Photo: Michael J Palmer / Shutterstock.com