Multiple asset sales being brokered by the state-run Korea Development Bank (KDB) and Export-Import Bank of Korea (KEXIM) will be wrapped up soon, with the final round of bidding for Hanjin Heavy Industries & Construction (HHIC) already close to completion.
KDB and other creditors are expected to name the preferred bidder for HHIC and sign a stock purchase agreement (SPA) by the end of this year, industry sources said on Tuesday (December 15). A consortium of KDB Investment and Keistone Partners, a consortium of NH Private Equity, Opus Private Equity and Dongbu Corporation, and SM Line participated in the final round of bidding for the company, held on Monday (December 14).
The sales of mid-sized shipyards Dae Sun Shipbuilding and STX Offshore & Shipbuilding are also likely to be completed in the first half of next year. Dae Sun Shipbuilding plans to sign a SPA with Dongil Steel as early as next week, in a sale process led by the KEXIM.
STX Offshore is likely to sign a SPA by the end of December, with a consortium comprising local private equity fund KH Investment and United Asset Management Company paying 200 billion won ($183 million). The consortium has reportedly already finalized its value-up strategy, including strengthening the company’s special purpose ship business.
Some market insiders are concerned that potential buyers’ attention could be dispersed due to the sales being carried out simultaneously, but they are generally positive on the deals. They said the strong interest points to increased focus on the shipbuilding market.
“Each shipbuilder owning different shipbuilding portfolios has helped with successful deal processes,” said an industry source.
The state-run lenders are also taking a more forward-looking stance than they have with their sale processes in the past. KDB told potential buyers that they could relocate HHIC’s Yeongdo shipyard on the condition that they secured an alternative site.
Yet some insiders noted that investors were focused more on investment in real estate than the shipbuilding industry itself. Most potential buyers of HHIC plan to exit their investment by relocating the Yeongdo shipyard, while the shipbuilder will be sold along with its construction unit. (Reporting by Ik-hwan Choi)