STX Shipbuilding Gains on Stake Purchase in Aker Yards

Thursday, October 25, 2007
STX Shipbuilding Co., the first South Korean yard in China, had its biggest two-day gain in more than a week in Seoul on optimism the purchase of a stake in Norway's Aker Yards ASA will add cruise liners to its range of vessels. STX Shipbuilding has more than quadrupled this year, making it the fourth-best performer in South Korea's Kospi 200 index. The stake purchase in Aker Yards will allow STX Shipbuilding to use the Norwegian company's expertise in cruise liners, which are usually more profitable to build than STX Shipbuilding's main business of mid-sized oil tankers and commodity carriers. STX Shipbuilding and STX Engine Co. said they paid $800m for a 39.2 percent stake in Aker Yards, becoming the biggest shareholders in the company. Hyundai Industries Co., Samsung Heavy Industries Co. and Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co., the world's three- biggest shipyards, have been trying to move into building cruise liners to fend off competition from Chinese yards, which aim to double production by 2015 to overtake South Korea as the world's biggest shipbuilding nation. Orders for cruise liners reach $13b annually, accounting for more than 12 percent of the global ship market, according to Samsung Heavy. A total of $124.4b was invested in new vessels last year, according to London-based Clarkson Plc, the world's biggest shipbroker. South Korea's government has said it wants to encourage companies to boost technology to make vessels that yield higher value, including cruise ships. [Source: Bloomberg]

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