Korea Development Bank (KDB) has denied it is planning a $1.4bn sale of HMM shares that could propel the boxship operator into the big league of container lines.

BusinessKorea reported that the state lender is lining up a sale to domestic steel producer Posco.

KDB is the biggest HMM shareholder with 12.61%.

"KDB recently reported an HMM privatisation plan to the ministry of strategy and finance," a high-ranking government official said in the BusinessKorea report.