‘K’ Line mulls suit against APL Logistics for its financial false news


MAJOR Japanese shipping line Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha, known as "K" Line, accuses Singapore's APL Logistics (APLL) of spreading false news to customers saying the carrier was near bankruptcy.

"We are considering legal measures that we may have against the concerned parties," said "K" Line president and CEO Eizo Murakami. 

"The message disseminated by APLL is unfounded without basis of any financial analysis and it is a false statement.

American Shipper reports analysts earlier this month said "K" Line could be targeted for takeover by Effissimo Capital Management, the firm's largest shareholder as of early August.

More recently, reports have indicated the firm could file for bankruptcy protection within the next two weeks, but "K" Line general manager Kiyoshi Tokonami said this was "untrue, completely groundless."

As to an Effisimo takeover, Mr Tokonami said: "We are having dialogue. Effisimo says their stake is purely for investment purposes."

"K" Line posted US$266 million quarterly net loss with the containership segment accounting for $121.9 million with revenues falling 27.1 per cent year on year.

The contentious APL Logistics emails stating a potential bankruptcy of "K" Line were circulated by APL Logistics to their customers on Tuesday, September 20. 

"We have strongly protested to APLL at a meeting yesterday, who admitted that the statement was false and promised to send to their customers a message to retract such statement," said Mr Murakami. 

"Our financial condition is sound as shown in the link provided, more specifically: As of 30 June 2016, cash and deposits is JPY214.3 billion [US$2.1 million]; Total net asset is JPY330.3 billion; equity ratio is 29.1 per cent; and liquidity ratio is 154.5, and moreover, we maintain the credit rating at the same sound and viable level as other shipping companies," Mr Murakami said. 

This "K" Line denies, and provides financial information in the form of a hyperlink on its current financial situation: http://www.kline.co.jp/en/ir/library/bs/__icsFiles/afieldfile/2016/07/28/fh2016_1con_e_1.pdf

The Hong Kong Shipping Gazette, having found no reference to the allegations on the APL Logistics website, the last public statement was dated August 15 about a new service in Oman, wrote the following:

"Sir or Madam: We are in receipt of a statement from 'K' Line alleging that APL Logistics circulated a statement to customers saying it was near financial collapse. 'K' Line further claim to have been in talks with you in which you admit that such a statement was issued by your company, which you then agreed with withdraw. We see no reference to any such occurrence on your website. We now seek comment on this matter either by direct email, a telephone call or a statement published on your website. Thank you for what help you can give." 

Having received no reply, one called the number at the APL Logistics website only to discover that this was the APL number, which longer had anything to do with APL Logistics despite the fact it was the number listed on the APL Logistics website.

As Japanese forwarder Kintetsu World Express bought APL Logistics last year, its website was visited, only to discover it did not have a phone number or any other method of reaching them under the "Contact Us" icon. But the Hong Kong Trade Development Council has a local number and address (26/F, Phase 6 Millennium City 392 Kwun Tong Road Kwun Tong, Kowloon, Hong Kong) listed where one spoke to two women who offered to take a message, but would not give out any more information. 

APL Logistics, no longer owned by Singapore's Neptune Orient Lines, which was recently purchased by French shipping giant CMA CGM of Marseilles, which bought its container shipping unit APL. But that did not include APL Logistics had been purchased by Japanese forwarder Kintetsu World Express early last year for US$1.2 billion. 

Source: Schednet

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