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STX: future of Aker Yards' Finnish units at stake

Seoul: STX Shipbuilding warned Aker Yards yesterday that it could close the Norwegian shipmaker's Finnish yards unless they secured more orders, writes Reuters. STX bought a 39.2% stake in Aker Yards for $800m in October, making it the largest shareholder in Europe's biggest shipbuilder. The European Commission last month cleared it to take the controlling stake in Aker Yards.

"We have not planned to buy more shares in Aker Yards. We will make our decision maybe some time later. Now we are scanning through the group," STX's head Duk-Soo Kang was quoted as saying in financial daily Kauppalehti. 

Kang said productivity at the Finnish shipyards lagged STX's targets and said the South Korean company had launched a programme, including investment, to fix the situation. "The prerequisite is that the Finnish shipyards get new orders that keep their production going. If there are no orders, the situation is different. Then, the option is of course to close the shipyard," Kang told the paper.

Kang also said he had met with the management of Finnish engineering company Wartsila. "But I don't want to disclose yet any possible plans we may have together," Kang is reported to have said.  [13/06/08]

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