Despite fierce opposition from its workforce all week, shareholders in Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI), the world’s largest shipbuilder, voted in favour today splitting the company into a holding firm and its shipbuilding operations, as part of plans to merge with compatriot Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) – a consolidation that would see the Korean megayard hold a 21.2% marketshare of the global orderbook.
Workers at both HHI and DSME have strongly opposed the merger, fearful of further job losses. Around 30,000 workers have been laid off from both yards over the past four years. Today’s shareholder vote took place with heavy police protection in place after violent scenes all week between workers and top management at HHI’s headquarters in Ulsan.
The merger must now pass anti-anti-monopoly reviews at home and across the world, with both China and the European Union expected to raise concerns.