S. Korea's STX Group mulls selling European shipyards

4th May 2013, Comments 0 comments

South Korea's troubled shipbuilding and shipping conglomerate STX Group is considering selling its European assets including its shipyards in France and Finland, a spokesman said Saturday.

The group has seen its major affiliates reel under mounting debt as it was hit by a global downturn in the shipbuilding and shipping sectors.

"We are now in the process of rearranging the corporate structure to focus on domestic shipbuilding. In this context, we are considering the sale of overseas assets and raise fresh liquidity," the company spokesman said.

These assets include shipyards in the European Union and China, he said.

"Some potential buyers have already shown interest" in buying stakes in the European shipyard, he said, adding it was not yet decided whether the group would sell all or part of its stakes in such overseas affiliates.

"The picture will become clear in the second half of this year," he said.

Under the wing of its holding company, STX Corp., the group is composed of 11 subsidiaries including its flagship STX Offshore & Shipbuilding Co. Ltd., STX Pan Ocean, STX Heavy Industries and STX Engine.

STX Group has been seeking to sell units and affiliates to try to secure cash as more than a trillion won ($911 million) in corporate debt matures this year, according to its main lender Korea Development Bank.

Its European assets include shipbuilders STX Finland and STX France, which is two-thirds owned by STX Europe, a subsidiary of STX Shipbuilding. The other third of STX France is owned by the French state.

© 2013 AFP

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