Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Hanjin may get South Korea lifeline; GE pushes into 3-D realm; Half the world's refugees are children

1 Hanjin may get South Korea lifeline (Stephen Evans on BBC) South Korea's government has said it might provide Hanjin with loans to keep the bankrupt shipping giant afloat. Officials said Seoul could give 100bn won ($91m) or more in long-term funding at low interest rates if Hanjin provided the necessary collateral.

Hanjin's collapse has left much of its fleet stranded at sea, unable to dock over fears that vessels be seized by creditors. Parent company Hanjin Group said it would inject 60bn won in fresh funds to resolve the disruptions to the cargo transport currently stuck at sea. Hanjin Group is a huge, family-dominated conglomerate and also includes Korean Air.

The immediate problem, though, is the company's ships out at sea because ports say they won't accept them without being sure that port-fees will be paid. These vessels only have fuel and food for crews for a matter of weeks.

Whatever funds are raised, the economics of the industry is unlikely to change soon. Nobody is forecasting a big rise in demand for container shipping. The question may be whether the South Korean government is prepared to bail out a company which would find it hard to survive otherwise.

Hanjin Shipping last week filed for receivership in South Korea after attempts to raise fresh funding for the indebted company failed. It said it would seek bankruptcy protection in more than 40 countries to protect its fleet from being repossessed. Under bankruptcy protection a company can reorganise its debts and stop assets from being seized.

Hanjin is the world's seventh-largest container line and has been unprofitable for four of the past five years.The global economic downturn in recent years severely affected profits across the cargo shipping industry. Fierce competition and falling prices had led to a $5.4bn debt for Hanjin before its creditors refused to offer a new lifeline.

2 GE pushes into 3-D realm (San Francisco Chronicle) General Electric is continuing its push into the digital realm, spending $1.4 billion to acquire two European 3-D printing companies.
At the same time, it's upping its old-school manufacturing capabilities with technology that will allow it to quickly punch out components for the automotive, airline and health industries at the whim of any client.

The company said that it expects the acquisition of Arcam AB and SLM Solutions Group AB to boost revenue within its 3-D printing business to $1 billion by 2020. GE has shed most of its financial service business to focus on its high-tech industrial operations. It had, before the deal announced this week, invested $1.5 billion in 3-D manufacturing technologies since 2010.

Once the most valuable company in the world, GE's market value has declined by about $70 billion during the past decade. Wohlers Associates, an independent 3-D printing technology consulting firm, says the number of manufacturers selling industrial-grade 3-D printers doubled from 2011 to 2015 and that about 278,000 desktop 3-D printers were sold worldwide last year.

3 Half the world’s refugees are children (Kate Hodal in The Guardian) Children now make up more than half of the world’s refugees, according to a Unicef report, despite the fact they account for less than a third of the global population.

Just two countries – Syria and Afghanistan – comprise half of all child refugees under protection by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), while roughly three-quarters of the world’s child refugees come from just 10 countries.

New and on-going global conflicts over the last five years have forced the number of child refugees to jump by 75% to 8 million, the report warns, putting these children at high risk of human smuggling, trafficking and other forms of abuse.

The Unicef report shows that globally some 50 million children have either migrated to another country or been forcibly displaced internally; of these, 28 million have been forced to flee by conflict.

Today children comprise one-eighth of all international migrants in the world (31 million children out of 244 million total migrants), according to 2015 data. The vast majority of child migrants – some 3.7 million children – live in the US, followed by Saudi Arabia and Jordan.

The vast majority of the world’s child migrants live in Asia or Africa, the report says. Asia is the birthplace of nearly half (43%) of all the migrants in the world, with nearly 60% of these migrants moving within the region.

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