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SM Group in pole to buy STX

Samra Midas Group (SM Group), the fast emerging white knight among South Korea’s hard hit maritime industries, is being linked to taking over STX Corporation.

SM Group, which already owns dry bulk outfit Korea Line Corp and has just launched boxline SM Line largely from the rump of defunct Hanjin Shipping, is thought to have been the top bidder for STX Corporation. Harim Group, which owns Pan Ocean (formerly part of the STX empire) decided at the last minute not to bid for STX.

Last year, SM Group came close to sealing a deal for SPP Shipbuilding, but could not agree a price for the shipyard. SPP has since closed.

STX Corporation has until the end of March to recapitalise or risk being kicked out of the stock market for failing to meet capital guidelines.

Under Kang Duk-soo, STX was one of South Korea’s fastest growing maritime conglomerates for the first decade of this century, but spiralling debts and fraud were uncovered leading to a disintegration of the group which had at its peak controlled yards across the world, a shipping line and an engine manufacturer.

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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