Chapter 11 Watch: Hanjin’s Latest Lifeline, Caesars Raises The Stakes And E-Cigarette Troubles

Failing Retail Wheel And Deal
The latest in Chapter 11 filings.

Hanjin, the embattled South Korean shipping giant that filed for bankruptcy in late August, got some good news this week as its largest shareholder has agreed to provide an emergency loan, according to Yahoo News.

The company, the seventh-largest shipper in the world, has filed for bankruptcy protection in both South Korea and the U.S. and is saddled with $5.37 billion in debt.

Korean Air’s board of directors approved a 60 billion won ($54 million) loan to Hanjin in an effort to help it continue daily operations. Since filing for bankruptcy, many Hanjin ships have been stranded at sea with ports unwilling to accept and unload its cargo over fears they won’t be paid.

Hanjin’s shares rose about 30 percent on Thursday (Sept. 22) after the news.

But Hanjin is not the only international shipping company that could be in the crosshairs of bankruptcy. According to a report by Chinese publication Shanghai Metals, Japanese shipper K Line plans to file for bankruptcy protection within the next two weeks. The accuracy of the source should be called into question, however, as Japan and China are Pacific Rim trade competitors, and a representative from K Line has dismissed the report as “untrue, completely groundless.”

NJOY, one of the largest makers of e-cigarettes, filed for bankruptcy protection in Delaware federal court on Sept. 16, according to New York Post.

The company raised $70 million in a capital round in 2013 that valued the company at $1 billion and has some big-name investors, including Napster Founder Sean Parker, PayPal Founder Peter Thiel and singer Bruno Mars.

Parker, who invested $10 million, said that NJOY and e-cigarettes, which heat a flavored liquid containing nicotine into a vapor that can then be inhaled, had the potential to make regular cigarettes “and all the harm they cause obsolete.”

The timing of NJOY’s filing is curious, as it comes just five months after the Food and Drug Administration unveiled new regulations on the e-cigarette market that many companies that manufacture the products feared would drive them out of business.

It remains to be seen but bears watching whether other e-cigarette makers will join NJOY in bankruptcy anytime soon.

Caesars Entertainment Corp., the Las Vegas-based gambling giant that owns and operates over 50 hotels and casinos around the world, has offered to boost its bankruptcy contribution by more than $1.2 billion, according to Bloomberg.

Caesars, the world’s fourth-largest gaming company, filed for bankruptcy in Jan. 2015. The company is facing about $5.5 billion in second-lien notes and had previously offered about $4 billion in a combination of cash, debt and stock to settle its debts under a reorganization plan.

But a lawyer for the embattled gambling giant indicated in a federal courtroom in Chicago on Wednesday (Sept. 21) that the company would withdraw its offer if debt holders don’t accept it by Friday.

“Come Friday, there will either be a fully consensual plan or something else that is not in the current plan,” Thomas Kreller, a lawyer for Caesars, told Bloomberg. “It is subject to all the other major creditor groups agreeing. It requires them to come in and say yes and contribute enough to fill the hole.”

And shares of Takata Corp., the embattled Japanese airbag manufacturer, haven taken a tumble this week after a report that the company was considering a bankruptcy option as a way to rein in its liabilities.