Evergreen ship in Kaohsiung
Photo: © Yali Shi | Dreamstime.com

Evergreen International, the largest shareholder of EVA Airways, continues to sell shares in the airline, leading to speculation that, as the feud between the Chang brothers eases, the group may split its container shipping and aviation businesses .

Panama-incorporated Evergreen International (EI) represents the interests of late group founder Chang Yung-fa’s sons, Chang Kuo-hua, Chang Kuo-ming, Chang Kuo-cheng and Chang Kuo-wei – the older three borne of the patriarch’s first wife, and the youngest  of his second wife.

On 9 June, 30 June and 7 July, EI, which had a 13.28% stake in EVA Airways, sold 180,000 shares, leaving it with just under 10%. And, according to Taiwanese media, EI, which held a 4.96% stake in Evergreen Marine Corp (EMC), the liner business, sold it all on 30 June.

There is speculation that the shares, sold for $520m, were bought by elder brother Kuo-hua, who already held 3.02% – a deal being interpreted in Taiwan as moving towards dissolving Evergreen International and separating the shipping and aviation businesses.

The Loadstar reported on 27 June that EMC had acquired its affiliate, Evergreen Marine (Singapore), for $780m, as it prepares to consolidate container shipping assets. It was estimated that expanding EMC’s owned fleet could up its revenue by 10%.

Kuo-hua has previously told Taiwanese media he believed the two entities that represent the Chang family’s interests in the Evergreen group, should be liquidated. As a member of EMC’s board, he has been fighting his brothers for control of the group since their father died in 2016.

Kuo-Wei was chairman of EVA Airways, but was ousted by his brothers. He went on to found Starlux Airlines, but is thought to retain shares in EI. With his brothers, he also inherited shares in EVA Airways and hotels in Taiwan, China, Paris and Bangkok. In September last year, Kuo-cheng, appeared to ally with Kuo-hua and joined the board of EVA Airways this year.

The boards of important companies in the Evergreen group have undergone changes, with Kuo-hua’s allies appointed as directors of companies such as Evergreen Steel and container leasing unit Evergreen International Storage & Transport Corp – developments, it is suggested, indicating the Chang family is moving towards a more peaceful and rational separation.

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