Hanwha Hotels & Resorts to sell Golden Bay club

Hanwha Hotels & Resorts Co Ltd has put one of its golf clubs, Golden Bay Golf & Resort, up for sale in an effort to strengthen its financial position, industry sources said on August 27.

Samjong KPMG has been hired to arrange the sale, with the first round of bidding expected in early September. The seller reportedly aims to close the transaction before the end of October.

Hanwha Hotels & Resorts, an affiliate of South Korean conglomerate Hanwha Group, has five golf clubs nationwide with a total of 108 holes. Golden Bay Golf & Resort, a 27-hole golf club founded in 2010, is in Taean, South Chungcheong Province. It abandoned the club membership system in May this year to increase public access.

The sale is expected to receive strong interest from investors as Covid-19 travel restrictions draw more players to golf courses, industry watchers said. Last month Moa Construction Co Ltd won a heated bidding race to buy Club Mow Country Club, a 27-hole golf course in Gangwon Province, from Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction for a record 185 billion won ($156 million).

“Golden Bay Golf & Resort is expected to draw stronger attention from investors than Club Mow Country Club,” an industry insider said.

Hanwha Hotels & Resorts’ gross borrowings stood at 850 billion won at the end of June this year. Net borrowings jumped to 741.7 billion won from 502.4 billion won at the end of 2018, largely due to the affect of the pandemic on operating profits and an equity investment to develop a ski resort in Niseko, Japan, in 2019. The company posted an operating loss of 71.3 billion won in the first half of this year, up from a 33.3 billion-won operating loss for the same period last year.

Hanwha Hotels & Resorts also sold its food retail and catering operations to private equity firm VIG Partners for 100 billion won in February. (Reporting by Byung-yoon Kim)