The Philippine Navy (PN) on Wednesday said it is currently using one of the piers of the debt-ridden shipbuilder, Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction (HHIC-Phil), located in Subic Bay, Zambales.
Navy flag-officer-in-command Vice Admiral Robert Empedrad, in a press briefing Wednesday, however, said he is not privy as to the ongoing deals concerning possible takers of the cash-strapped shipbuilder.
“I think that there are countries (proposing to take over). The Secretary of Finance (Carlos Dominguez) is in charge of this one. If that pushes through, the Navy will be a part of the (joint) venture. In fact, we are using as one of (Hanjin’s) piers, with permission from RCBC (one of the creditor banks),” he added in mix of English and Filipino.
Earlier, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the government could use the Hanjin’s facilities to house and repair large Philippine Navy ships.
But he added that prospective investors for the cash-strapped firm should really come from the shipbuilding sector as it will take a lot of money and foreign contacts, to get orders abroad, to make its operations profitable.
HHIC-Phils earlier revealed that it has a total of USD1.3 billion in outstanding loans — USD400 million from Philippine banks and USD900 million from South Korean lenders.
According to the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), HHIC-Phil filed a petition at the Olongapo City Regional Trial Court in Olongapo City on January 8 “to initiate voluntary rehabilitation under Republic Act 10142, otherwise known as An Act Providing for the Rehabilitation or Liquidation of Financially Distressed Enterprises and Individuals”.
With this, the shipbuilder has sought help from the government to find investors that can take over the operation of its shipyard in Subic, as well as to help its employees, who have taken the brunt of the company’s financial woes.
In December 2018, the company laid off more than 7,000 workers. PNA.GOV.PH