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Samsung HI back in the black

Seoul: The world's third largest shipbuilder, Samsung Heavy Industries, has left 2005's red figures firmly behind, announcing net profits of 166.2bn won ($177.2m) for 2006 on turnover up by nearly 15% at 6.35trn won ($6.77bn).  Its operating profit in 2006 totalled 98.6bn won ($105.1m), reversing a loss of 4.3bn won ($4.58m) one year earlier. The South Korean builder highlighted faster ship deliveries resulting from higher productivity as a key factor in its improved performance. It also pointed to a larger proportion of high-value merchant vessels.

The news comes as leading South Korean builders look to China for space to expand and cut the costs of ship production. According to South Korea's English language daily, the Korea Herald, STX Heavy Industries and STX Shipbuilding are investing almost $85m in a new shipyard near Dalian in northeastern China for the construction of bulk carriers, products tankers and chemical carriers. The company is also considering the manufacture of ship components in China as a further means of reducing the costs of production. Samsung, meanwhile, whose Chinese subsidiary Samsung Heavy Industries Ningbo Co, has been contributing to group production for the last nine years, plans to raise capacity there and build a new plant at Rongcheong in Shandong province.  [17/01/07]

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