As the coronavirus continues to affect the domestic hotel industry, the National Pension Service (NPS) has lowered its stake in Hotel Shilla below 10% for the first time in about three years by selling more than 1 million its shares. 

According to a regulatory filing with the Financial Supervisory Service on June 28, NPS sold a total of 1,096,000 shares of Hotel Shilla from April 1 to June 24, which amount to 21.8% of the 4.98 million shares it had held. 

After the sale, NPS’s stake in Hotel Shilla fell 2.74 percentage points from 12.47% to 9.73%, making its stake in Hotel Shilla fall below 10% for the first time since April 2017. 

“The NPS sold Hotel Shilla reflecting its gloomy outlook in the second quarter this year. In particular, the global travel industry outlook is very grim,” said an analyst at Hana Financial Investment.

NPS raised its stake in Hotel Shilla to 13.49% in April last year, but the recent sale made the figure drop 3.76 percentage points in more than a year. NPS’s stake in Hotel Shilla had been above 10% since October 2014. 

Hotel Shilla’s stock price, which had been trading above 80,000 won ($66.7) until early this month, continued to fall below 69,000 won last week amid heavy selling by NPS. 

Hit by the impact of the coronavirus, Hotel Shilla’s revenue for the first quarter fell to 943.7 billion won, down 29.7% from the same period last year. It also posted an operating loss of 66.8 billion won for the first time since 2000.

Though Hotel Shilla is expecting a third quarter turnaround after logging another operating loss in this quarter, it wholly depends on how the impact of the coronavirus will improve, analysts said. (Reporting by Jinwon Lee)