Korean firms unaffected by earthquake
Korean companies operating in Southeast Asia were mostly untouched by a powerful earthquake that hit the area on Sunday, a local trade agency reported yesterday.
The Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency said that according to initial assessments, with the exception of Hyundai Motor Co.'s factory in India, no local firms suffered any damage from the earthquake that rocked the Indonesian island of Sumatra.
The strong 9.0-magnitude earthquake triggered a tsunami (tidal wave) that struck the coasts of Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Malaysia and the Maldives.
No Korean companies are located in Sumatra, while in Sri Lanka, most are settled near the capital city of Colombo, which mostly escaped the effects of the earthquake.
In India, 1,173 Hyundai Motor cars bound for Mexico and Algeria were swept away by the tidal wave at Chennai port. They were valued at 6 billion ($5.7 million) and were fully insured, Hyundai Motor said in a statement.
"We expect full compensation," the company said.
The trade agency said that further damage was unlikely as most other factory facilities are located in the northern areas. The tsunami struck the southern part of the country.
Samsung Electronics Co. and LG Electronics Inc., Korea's two largest electronics makers, said factories in India were unaffected since they are located far inland.
Regarding indirect disruptions to operations, Cho Sung-in, a spokeswoman for Samsung Electronics, told Bloomberg News that an accurate assessment is difficult at the moment.
Samsung has manufacturing plants for household appliances in New Delhi. It runs a research and development center in the south-central city of Bangalore and was unaffected, according to Cho.
LG Electronics is also located in New Delhi and was unaffected, said spokesman Oh Sea-chon. "Our plant in Indonesia was also untouched by the waves because it's in Jakarta, out of harm's way," he added.
A delay in shipments to the area is likely for all companies until the situation is resolved, Oh observed. "Logistics may be a problem but that seems to be natural considering the magnitude of the disaster," he said.
Following the earthquake, a shipment of liquefied natural gas to Korea by Korea Gas Corp., the world's largest buyer of such gas, was delayed.
Korea Gas operations will not be disrupted, company officials said. The tanker, carrying about 56,000 metric tons of fuel, left a port in Indonesia's Aceh province on Sunday.