LG Electronics Signs Deal to Manufacture Washing Machines In Tennessee

I am sure President Trump will be pleased with this news:

Dan Song, president of LG Electronics’ home appliances business, front left, and Gov. Bill Haslam, front right, sign a memorandum of understanding on Tuesday in Tennessee. LG agreed to build a washing machine factory in the state. In the back row from left are Curtis G. Johnson, a member of the Tennessee House of Representatives; Joo Hyung-hwan, Korean minister of trade, industry and energy; Kim McMillan, mayor of Clarksville; and William Cho, president and CEO of LG Electronics USA. [LG ELECTRONICS]

LG Electronics’ plans to build a washing machine factory in Tennessee are taking shape as it seeks to sustain growth in the key American market while avoiding punitive protectionist measures from Donald Trump’s administration.

The company signed a memorandum of understanding with the state government on Tuesday in Tennessee, with the goal of clinching a contract by June and beginning construction by the year’s end. LG will spend $250 million on the project.

The facility, to be built on a 300-acre plot of land in Clarksville, will begin making washing machines for sale in the United States by the first half of 2019 at the earliest, LG said. The plant will be able to produce at least a million units of both front- and top-loading machines a year. The site may later expand to production of other home appliances, the company said.  [Joong Ang Ilbo]

You can read more at the link.

Proposed Bill Would Ban Korean Employers from Requiring Pictures and Background Information In Job Applications

This will be a big change for the job hiring process in South Korea if this bill gets implemented, but it seems that face to face interviews will be the way for employers to get around the intent of this bill:

Rep. Han Jeoung-ae of the main opposition Democratic Party (Yonhap)

Rep. Han Jeoung-ae of the main opposition Democratic Party (Yonhap)

The South Korean parliament’s labor committee on Monday approved a bill which bans employers from requiring job seekers to provide a headshot and information such as their weight and height.

It also seeks to prohibit the “discriminatory” practice of requiring information about an applicant’s birthplace, religion, marital status, assets and family details on application forms.

Violators will be slapped with fines of up to 5 million won (US$4,275) under the bill proposed by Rep. Han Jeoung-ae of the main opposition Democratic Party.

The proposal calls for punishing acts of requesting and offering illegal favors, exerting undue influence and giving and taking gifts or cash in the recruitment process with fines of up to 30 million won.  [Yonhap]

You can read more at the link.

Should Korean Government Bailout Hanjin Shipping?

It sounds like the critics of the Hanjin bankruptcy think the Korean government should have bailed them out like the US did the too big to fail banks in 2008:

A container terminal is shown above in Singapore, Sep. 3, containing seized cargo from Hanjin Shipping. Analysts say that Hanjin's court receivership could be just the tip of the iceberg for the shipping industry as the long-running global economic downturn has left it drowning in excess capacity. / AFP-Yonhap

A container terminal is shown above in Singapore, Sep. 3, containing seized cargo from Hanjin Shipping. Analysts say that Hanjin’s court receivership could be just the tip of the iceberg for the shipping industry as the long-running global economic downturn has left it drowning in excess capacity. / AFP-Yonhap

Hanjin Shipping’s filing for court receivership is inflicting far larger-than-expected negative impacts both at home and abroad as major routes for trade are being suspended.

The government and creditors are facing growing criticism that they are responsible for having thrown global ports and traders into confusion.

About half of Hanjin’s fleet is stuck in ports around the world as the authorities there fear the shipper whose assets have been frozen is unable to pay fees.

The government will not be able to avoid criticism for underestimating the fallout of the bankruptcy of the world’s seventh largest shipper.

It is still pondering over contingency plans to contain the backlash, creating a task force to ensure there are no delays in the flow of cargo.

The Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries will lead the task force along made up of ranking officials from nine related ministries and agencies.

“The government will make sure that the fallout from Hanjin Shipping doesn’t lead to chaos in logistics or a transmission to the real economy including exports,” said Oceans and Fisheries Minister Kim Young-suk, after an emergency meeting held Sunday.

“We will closely cooperate to support damaged industries, taking all possible policy measures,” he said.

However, officials from the shipping industry criticize the government for allowing the shipper to go bankrupt without having drawn up proper countermeasures.

The most urgent problem is that exports may fail to arrive at their final destination on time as 68 of Hanjin Shipping’s vessels are stranded at sea worldwide as of Sunday. [Korea Times]

You can read more at the link, but it is pretty amazing that a huge company like Hanjin has gone into bankruptcy.  It seems like the simple answer is that another company buys Hanjin and then restarts operations with a fresh cash flow to pay the various port fees that are currently delaying shipping.

President Park To Lead Largest Ever Business Delegation to Mexico

Good news for Mexico because obviously the ROK leadership views their country as one worthy of seeking investment in:

president park image

More than 100 business executives plan to travel to Mexico this week along with President Park Geun-hye, officials said Monday, in an apparent effort to try to forge new business opportunities with the large North American country.

Park is set to meet with her Mexican counterpart Enrique Pena Nieto next Monday to discuss how to boost cooperation in a wide range of issues between the two countries.

The trip follows Park’s visit to Washington for the Nuclear Security Summit with U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders set to be held on Thursday and Friday.

A total of 108 companies, including Samsung Electronics and Hyundai Motor, plan to send their senior executives to Mexico on the occasion of Park’s visit to try to explore new business opportunities.

It marks South Korea’s largest business delegation ever to Mexico. In 2010, only a dozen business executives traveled to Mexico with then-President Lee Myung-bak.  [Korea Times]

You can read more at the link.

Proposed Bill to Ban Korean Employers from Discriminating By Appearance

Unless they ban job interviews this bill probably will not have the desired effect:

business card

An opposition legislator has proposed a bill to eliminate discrimination during the recruitment process of companies based on appearance.

Rep. Han Jeoung-ae of the New Politics Alliance for Democracy (NPAD) proposed on Wednesday a revised bill aimed at prohibiting companies from asking job applicants to specify information unrelated to their capabilities and skills in their resumes.

The proposed bill stipulates that requiring information such as a job applicant’s photo, properties owned or parents’ profession will result in a fine of up to five million won, or roughly 44-hundred U.S. dollars.  [KBS World Radio]

Korea’s Homeplus To Be Sold At Auction

If any ROK Heads have a few billion dollars lying around you could use it to buy the Korean retail giant Homeplus if you are interested.  It will be interesting to see what changes will be made once Homeplus is sold off:

homeplus

Private equity groups are expected to submit final bids to take over the nation’s second-largest supermarket chain Homeplus, valued at about 7 trillion won ($5.86 billion), amid growing speculation that two Korean retail firms are mulling to join the deal when the preferred bidder is announced, according to sources on Sunday.

Five shortlisted private equity firms formed three consortiums for Monday’s final bidding for Homeplus, wholly owned by Tesco. The British retail giant put up its Korean unit for auction in a bid to scale back the mounting debt and fund a turnaround plan.

Sources said the Korean confectionery company Orion and local retail giant Hyundai Department store are eyeing to join the bid as strategic investors.

“As Orion continues to show a strong will to buy Homeplus, there’s potential that it will link up with a private equity fund to be selected as a preferred bidder,” an official at an investment bank said.

The snack-maker, which failed to make the final list of five bidders, has been seeking a foray into the supermarket industry as its growth slows.

The preferred bidder is expected to be announced in September while the takeover deal to be wrapped up by the end of this year.  [Korea Herald]

You can read more at the link.

Activist Leader Imprisoned for Taking Bribe from Lone Star

The Lone Star issue continues to make headlines.  This time it is about how Lone Star bribed an activist group leader to essentially shut up.  So if there was any doubt, everyone now knows it is illegal to bribe activist groups in South Korea:

white envelope

A local court sentenced the head of a private watchdog to two years in prison for taking bribes from Lone Star Funds in return for dropping protests over the U.S. firm’s local deal and trying to help it settle a stock manipulation trial.

The Seoul Central District Court ordered Jang Hwa-sik, the head of Spec Watch Korea, also to forfeit 800 million won (US$681,000), he received in 2011 from Yoo Hoe-won, former head of Lone Star’s local unit.

“Despite fairness and integrity expected for him as an executive of an organization whose nature is clearly of public concern, he used his position in taking the heavy amount of financial reward,” the court said.

Jang, formerly a head of the labor union at Korea Exchange Bank (KEB), had led protests against Lone Star’s profit taking in the firm’s purchase and reselling of KEB.  [Yonhap]

You can read more at the link.