Sale of S. Korea's No. 4 shipper on course: sources

SEOUL, Sept. 17 (Yonhap) -- Korea Line Corp., the country's No. 4 shipper now under court receivership, will be sold off to a local business group, industry sources said Tuesday.

Early this month, SM Group was selected as the preferred bidder for Korea Line, which has been under court receivership due to mounting debts. SM Group's business portfolio ranges from construction to chemicals.

Korea Line and SM Group will sign a deal valued at around 215 billion won (US$198 million) later in the day, according to the sources.

Hit hard by the global economic downturn, the shipper has been under court receivership since early 2011 as the company has suffered from massive debts worth over 1 trillion won.

Korea Line logged an operating income of 26.2 billion won in the second quarter of the year on sales of 139 billion won.

In February this year, the sale of the country's leading bulk carrier ruptured over guaranteed debts.

Other bidders including conglomerates CJ and SK groups have expressed their intent to buy Korea Line, but gave up due to the company's price tag.

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