A rescue path has officially been laid out for Sungdong Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering. Samsung Heavy Industries and the Export-Import Bank of Korea yesterday signed a deal to take over management of the financially troubled yard for an initial four years with options to renew the deal for a further three years.
Korea Eximbank will look after Sungdong’s human resources, labour management and finance while Samsung will support sales, purchase, production and technology at the mid-sized yard.
Samsung Heavy’s president Park Dae-Young said, “The cooperation with Sungdong is definitely demanding on account of the prolonged slump in global shipbuilding industry. However, we will actively support the yard.”
For Samsung, which has focused on offshore, LNG and large boxships, taking over Sungdong would allow it to broaden its product mix by offering more standard commercial ship types – a useful diversification at a time when offshore construction has been burning a severe hole in Samsung’s bottom line.
The move is also very much in line with Seoul’s ambition to slimline the number of Korean shipbuilding companies.
Sungdong graduated from block building to ships around a decade ago, pioneering onland construction and becoming a top 10 yard worldwide before tough times hit.