Seoul: Korean shipbuilding heavyweight Samsung Heavy Industries is being widely tipped in Seoul business circles at taking over the management at financially troubled compatriot, Sungdong Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering.
Sungdong is one of a number of Korean shipyards pushing through with a restructuring having overstretched itself just as orders dried up with the shipping crash. Sources at one of its creditors, the Export-Import Bank of Korea, have told the Korea Economic Daily that Samsung is being offered to take over trust management of Sungdong.
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.