Struggling South Korean ship repair company Orient Shipyard has been put up for sale after nine years of a corporate rehabilitation process that had limited success.

Advisory firms submitted their proposals for a role in the sale of a controlling stake in the company last week, according to sources. Once they have been selected, the sale process is expected to begin in February.

Orient Shipyard specializes in repairing ships with a capacity of up to 50,000 tons. It filed for bankruptcy protection in 2012 after being unable to repay a large amount of debt taken on in 2008 to expand its business to include shipbuilding operations.

The company has since been implementing a restructuring plan, but it still carries an unpaid debt of more than 200 billion won ($181.9 million), almost 10 times the 2019 revenue of 26 billion won, even after the recent sale of its land and facilities in the Gwangyang Bay area, which generated 52.1 billion in gross proceeds.

Creditors led by Kookmin Bank are looking at other options for the company, including a sale, as the restructuring plan appears to have failed, industry watchers said.

“With the restructuring expiring in 2022, creditors are considering an option to sell the company to collect their money,” said an industry insider. “They seem to think that the timing is right because of increasing interest in the ship repair business.”

Last year Hanjin Heavy Industries & Construction and Dae Sun Shipbuilding & Engineering, which were both under a rehabilitation process, were put up for sale by creditors led by state-controlled banks and sold to Dongbu Construction and Dong-il Steel respectively. The deals are expected to be completed in the first half of this year.

Orient Shipyard’s liquidation value is estimated to be around 55 billion won, which will be the floor price. The company’s land and facilities in Busan contribute a significant part of the liquidation value.

“The company’s facilities in Busan have a geographical advantage because they are located at Gamcheon Port,” said another insider. “Orient Shipyard will likely draw attention from multiple potential buyers who expect the company to benefit from rising demand for ship repairs as marine environmental regulations are tightened.” (Reporting by Ik-hwan Choi)