SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - The judge overseeing the U.S. bankruptcy case of Hanjin Shipping Co Ltd 117930.KS said on Friday he will likely announce on Wednesday whether he will approve the South Korean company's sale of its stake in a U.S. terminal operator after conferring with his South Korean counterpart.
"I do intend to render a decision probably on Wednesday and I'll just read it into the record," Judge John Sherwood said at the end of an all-day hearing in which container companies argued against the sale.
Hanjin is selling its 54 percent stake in Total Terminals International LLC for $78 million (£64 million) to Luxembourg-headquartered Terminal Investment Ltd in a deal that also includes forgiving $54.6 million in debt. The deal has already been approved in court in South Korea.
The container companies are creditors of Hanjin and are concerned whether it is getting top dollar for the stake in Total Terminals under the deal with Terminal Investment.
The container companies are also concerned about sale proceeds going to South Korea, where they believe their claims may not be treated fairly.
Lawyers for Hanjin and Total Terminals, which operates container terminals at the ports of Seattle and Long Beach, California, countered the sale must be concluded to raise proceeds and because Total Terminals is on the brink of bankruptcy.
Hanjin, the world's seventh-largest container line, filed for bankruptcy in August, triggering chaos for importers and exporters using its vessels. Its U.S. Chapter 15 bankruptcy case has been marked by confusion over assets in the United States and proceedings in South Korea.
Reporting by Jim Christie; Editing by Leslie Adler