Korean Air is selling non-core assets in a bid to “improve its financial position and increase its corporate transparency”.
This includes real estate in downtown Seoul and a 100% owned leisure company that operates a resort in Incheon, just outside Seoul.
Plans for the assets in question had to be shelved as the carrier “faced multiple development challenges” with the land parcel, while the resort required “an additional large and long-term investment…to create profitability”.
“Korean Air’s sale of unprofitable assets reflects its goal of strong financial stability,” it says.
The carrier also disclosed measures aimed to improve transparency and strengthen the independence of its board.
It established a recommendation committee formed entirely of outside directors, by replacing internal director Kee-Hong Woo with Dong-Jae Kim.
A recent sustainability report shows that Kim is a professor at Yonsei University and was appointed to the board in 2018, while executive vice-president Woo was appointed in 2017.
Kim will also chair a separate, governance committee comprising only of outside directors. The committee will review and make recommendations about the airline’s major business issues that may have a significant impact on shareholder values and rights.
“Korean Air is determined to maximise shareholder value. The resolutions that were passed reflect the company’s strong will to improve its financial position and create a sound and transparent governance structure.”
The flag carrier has been mired in controversy, largely over the actions of the controlling Cho family.
In 2018, affiliate Jin Air was at risk of losing its air operator’s certificate, when authorities found that executive vice-president Emily Cho had served on its board from 2010 to 2016. Cho was born in Hawaii and held US citizenship during that period, violating local aviation laws that prevent foreign nationals from sitting on the board of a national passenger carrier.
Last April, shareholders voted to remove the carrier’s chairman Cho Yang-Ho from the company’s board, in light of allegations of embezzlement and tax evasion.
Walter Cho has since taken on the role of chairman and chief executive, following the sudden death of the senior Cho.