South Korean flagship mainline operator Hyundai Merchant Marine (HMM) will be renamed HMM Co., Ltd., to reflect the company’s new corporate identity, as the Hyundai group is no longer HMM’s largest shareholder after swapping debt for equity with the company’s banks.
An HMM official added, “Around 90% of our business depends on ocean-going vessels and the HMM name is more familiar overseas.” HMM’s name change was confirmed during a board meeting on 9 March 2020 and is scheduled to be endorsed at the company’s annual general meeting on 27 March.
Although also active in tankers and dry bulk, HMM is primarily a container liner operator, deriving 90% of its income from moving containers. The debt-for-equity swap occurred in August 2016, after HMM undertook a monumental self-rescue effort that involved the Hyundai Group selling subsidiaries to raise funds and renegotiating rates of period-chartered ships.
As of 30 September 2019, HMM’s largest shareholders are Korea Development Bank and Korea Ocean Business Corporation, which have stakes of 12.94% and 4.38%, respectively. HMM took its first steps towards its new identity in 2018, when the “Hyundai” livery on its containers was replaced with “HMM”. Name cards of HMM’s staff were also relabeled with the HMM name. In May 2019, the process to rebrand HMM was expedited when a mission to create a new corporate identity was announced. The HMM name is unlikely to be unfamiliar to the market, since the company has been often referred to by its acronym.