Of Fools and Their Money, Cont.

Will the North Korean money pit sink the Hyundai Group?

The financial health of the Hyundai Group began to deteriorate when it started pouring huge amounts of money into its North Korean business in 1998. Hyundai Merchant Marine, the core part of the Hyundai Group accounting for over 80 percent of the group’s total assets, had been supporting Hyundai Asan but was hit badly by the global recession. Last year, it saw sales fall by more than 20 percent from the previous year, posting a massive W837.6 billion (US$1=W1,110) deficit.

That would be quite an accomplishment to add to the legacy of the Sunshine Policy. In addition to which, it would serve Hyundai right.