Samsung Heavy Industries tipped to take over Sungdong

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.


Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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