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Runners and riders line up for DSME sale

Seoul: Two South Korean family-run conglomerates said Thursday they will seek to acquire Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co., the world's third-largest shipbuilder.
Hanwha Group and GS Group are considering taking over Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering, but they have yet to finalize the plan, the groups said in regulatory filings.
In August 2001, Daewoo Shipbuilding graduated from its work-out debt program that had started in Aug. 1999.
In late March, the state-run Korea Development Bank (KDB), the largest shareholder of Daewoo Shipbuilding, said it would soon name a manager for the sale of the shipbuilder.
The KDB holds a 31.3 percent stake in Daewoo Shipbuilding, with the state-run Korea Asset Management Corp. owning 19.1 percent.
As of Thursday, the total market value for the shipbuilder rose to about 8.5 trillion won (US$8.6 billion) from 1 trillion won when it ended the work-out debt program.
Later in the day, the unionized workers of the shipbuilder said they will oppose the KDB's plan to pick up a foreign company as a lead manager for the stake sale in a bid to prevent key technologies from leaking to rivals overseas.
If the state-run lender presses ahead with its plan, the shipbuilder's union will mobilize all possible means to disturb the stake sale, the union said.
POSCO, Hyundai Heavy Industries Co., Doosan and STX are reportedly interested in taking over the shipyard with POSCO, the giant steel mill, perceived as an early favourite.
Last year, Daewoo Shipbuilding posted 321 billion won (US$324 million) in net profit, nearly a five-fold jump from the previous year, as the company got more orders for high-margin ships and floating facilities. In 2007, its sales climbed 32 percent to about 71 trillion won.
In 2008, the shipbuilder is aiming to win $17.5 billion worth of shipbuilding orders.
Daewoo Shipbuilding shares soared 4.1 percent to close at 44,450 won on the Korea Exchange.  [18/4/08]


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