Korean activist fund KCGI further acted out on its pledge to keep an eye on transportation conglomerate Hanjin Group and its flagship full-service carrier Korean Air plagued by owner family risk through increased ownership.
According to KCGI disclosure on Thursday, its wholly-owned subsidiary NK&Co. Holdings Ltd. acquired 962,133 ordinary shares or 8.03 percent stake in Hanjin Transportation for 50.6 billion won ($44.9 million) on Dec. 26. Upon the purchase, the special purpose company set up by KCGI became the second largest stakeholder after Hanjin KAL Corp., Hanjin Group Chairman Cho Yang-ho and family members with a combined 33.13 percent.
In a separate disclosure, Chosun Refractories Co. reported its stake in Hanjin Transportation was reduced from 5.97 percent to 1.53 percent on Dec. 26, suggesting that it has sold off some of its stakes to KCGI. Other shareholders subject to disclosure include National Pension Service with a 7.41 percent stake and Quad Investment Management Corp. with a 6.49 percent stake as of Thursday.
On Friday, shares of Hanjin Transportation fell 8.04 percent to close at 46,900 won.
KCGI, a home-grown activist private equity fund headed by Kang Seong-bu, said it would participate in management decisions of Hanjin Transportation such as on executive reshuffles, changes to corporate mandates, dividend payouts and M&As.
Market analysts expect Kang would soon announce the background and purpose of its recent investments in Hanjin Group companies.
KCGI in November obtained a 9 percent stake in Hanjin KAL, the holding entity of Hanjin Group, for 130.7 billion won.
KCGI’s stake purchase in Hanjin units came after a series of scandals and criminal actions involving owner family members. The activist fund said its aim is to exercise appropriate checks and restraint over important management affairs of Hanjin KAL to improve the group governance structure as a major shareholder but not to challenge the management rights of the family-owned business.
By Cho Si-young and Lee Ha-yeon
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]