Hyundai Heavy Industries sealed the deal to acquire local rival Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering, growing its stake in the global market to some 21 percent. Hyundai held a signing ceremony on 08 March 2019, with Daewoo's largest shareholder Korea Development Bank. Hyundai Heavy Industries and Korea Development Bank released a joint statement, saying they planned to retain Daewoo's independent management structure, while assuring workers that their jobs are secure. They added subcontractors and affiliated firms will also be retained.
Under the deal, Hyundai Heavy Industries was to create a holding company to manage shipbuilding units including Daewoo Shipbuilding. KDB will transfer its current shares in Daewoo to the new company, becoming the second largest shareholder with an 18 percent stake, following Hyundai Heavy Industries' 26 percent stake.
The takeover came as shipbuilding companies are still reeling from a global downturn in the industry, leading to financial troubles and wide-scale layoffs. Daewoo had been struggling financially for over two decades, with its parent Daewoo Group having gone bankrupt after the 1997 financial crisis. The ailing company had received around 8.8 billion dollars of bailout loans and public funds since 2015.
The acquisition aimed to stabilise the country's shipbuilding sector, by easing competition and excess capacity, while helping grow competitiveness amid increased competition from other Asian countries. It would also create two dominant shipbuilders in Korea -- Hyundai Heavy Industries and Samsung Heavy Industries.
However, some challenges still remained. Due to the sheer size of the market share that the envisioned entity would hold, fair trade authorities in Korea as well as trading partner countries would have to determine whether the acquisition meets anti-trust regulations. Also, unionised workers of both companies fiercely opposed the takeover, expressing fears of massive layoffs.
Daewoo Shipbuilding - Bailouts
The government announced plans 31 January 2019 to privatize the nation's second largest shipyard, Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering as part of efforts to boost competitiveness of the struggling shipbuilding sector. At a ministerial-level meeting, Finance chief Hong Nam-ki said the state-run Korea Development Bank, which holds a majority 55.7-percent stake in Daewoo Shipbuilding, plans to sell its shares to Hyundai Heavy Industries. With the takeover, the local shipbuilding industry, which is undergoing restructuring, is expected to be dominated by Hyundai Heavy and Samsung Heavy Industries.
Bondholders of embattled Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering approved the latest government-drawn debt rescheduling plan. The shipbuilder said that after two rounds of bondholder meetings on 18 April 2017, more than 99 percent of the participants approved the government plan. In three similar meetings held the previous day, more than 98 percent of the participants approved the plan, under which they would provide a debt-for-equity swap on half of their one-point-35 trillion won worth of Daewoo bonds and postpone payment for the remainder for three years. With the approval of the debt restructuring plan, creditor banks would give two-point-nine trillion won in fresh loans to the cash-strapped shipbuilder starting in early May.
The troubled Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering would receive a new bailout package worth 6.7 trillion Korean won, or nearly 6 billion U.S. dollars. The shipbuilder's largest shareholder and creditor, Korea Development Bank, announced 23 March 2017 this second large-scale rescue package for the company, which had been suffering from serious liquidity problems. Most of Daewoo's bonds matured in April 2017, and the government said the company will go bankrupt without help. But it would be provided only if all stakeholders agree to swap debt for equity.
In other words, the shipyard would get new loans of 2.9 trillion won, or about 2.6 billion dollars if lenders and bondholders agree to exchange this for new shares in the company. The rescue package also included loans of some 800 million dollars with an extended maturity of three to five years. The rest of the bailout would come in the form of bonds from various lenders both state-run and commercial.
The government's last bailout for Daewoo came in October of 2015. The shipbuilder's financial conditions had deteriorated rapidly since then due mainly to losses from delays and difficulties in building complex offshore facilities.
Korea’s shipbuilding industry, the former global industry leader, was on the brink of collapse by 2016. On 11 June 2016 Korea's three major shipbuilding corporations -- Hyundai Heavy Industries, Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering and Samsung Heavy industries -- won approval from their creditors and the Ministry of Strategy and Finance for their individual self-rescue plans. Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering's rescue plan, worth 4.5 billion dollars, would see the company sell off all 14 of its subsidiaries and reduce the number of operating docks from seven to five.
Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering plans included large-scale workforce reduction, wage cuts, non-core asset sales as well as spin-off of its defense unit. The company planned to separate its lucrative defense business, including special vessels, put it in its subsidiary.
Daewoo Shipbuilding - 2016 Corruption
Prosecutors investigating corruption in the nation's shipbuilding sector on 09 July 2016 detained a former head of Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering, Ko Jae-ho. The 61-year-old allegedly committed accounting fraud to the tune of over five trillion won. He was charged with violating capital market and financial investment laws as well as laws related to external audits of publicly held corporations. Charges of fraud and breach of trust were also applied. According to prosecutors, Ko cooked books worth some five-point-four trillion won or four-point-six billion U.S. dollars between 2012 and 2014 when he was president of the shipbuilder by under-reporting production cost or exaggerating sales figures or operating profits. He's also accused of inflicting damage on the financial sector through such manipulations. Ko made his firm's financial soundness appear solid and took out loans from banks in tens of trillions of won. Ko was the second former CEO of Daewoo Shipbuilding to be arrested in the ongoing probe after his predecessor Nam Sang-tae was detained in June 2016.
The former chief of Korea Development Bank (KDB) was summoned by the prosecution on 19 September 2016 in the corruption probe into Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME). Kang Man-soo, the first finance minister of the preceding Lee Myung-bak administration arrived at the prosecutors' office. He denied his charges, saying that he didn't do anything shameful while serving as a public official. "I believe the prosecution will sort out the misunderstandings." While heading the largest shareholder and creditor to the ailing DSME, Kang is suspected of pressuring the shipbuilder into investing in a biotech firm owned by an acquaintance. Daewoo invested four-point-four billion won in the company over two years in 2012 and 2013, but suspended the investment after Kang's retirement. Kang is also suspected of helping Hansung Enterprise receive a large sum of loans from KDB. The head of Hansung is Kang's high school classmate Lim Woo-kun.
Financial Services Commission Chairman Lim Jong-ryong said 27 December 2016 Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering needed to keep its competitive edge as one of the world's best shipbuilders. Although the country's top three shipyards are undergoing restucturing and downsizing at the moment, Chairman Lim stressed that rather than dissolving DSME, the priority should be keeping the company solid.
Lim said it would be a huge loss to give up on such a strong business, adding the government will support the shipbuilder in finding ways to save itself. He vowed to keep the company's research and development personnel even if it becomes necessary to cut employees adding that if DSME has to give up first place to its competitors, it would be only a matter of time before the nation's shipbuilding industry would collapse.
Regarding the shipping industry, Lim said Hanjin Shipping applying for bankruptcy protection, as happened in August 2016, was unavoidable, because it was unclear when the shipping industry would be able to see a recovery. The FSC under Lim’s leadership had been criticized for leaving Hanjin, once the country's biggest shipping firm, to file for court receivership without due financial help.
Lim responded that the decision was reasonable. He explained that it was estimated that the shipping company would need about 3.8 billlion U.S. dollars through 2019 to stay afloat. However, Hanjin Group had only agreed to pay about 4-hundred million U.S dollars to normalize the company. The chairman added that Hanjin had no healthy assets at all by the time the FSC decided it should file for receivership, making it difficult to save any part of the company.
Daewoo Shipbuilding - Background
Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co., Ltd. [DSME], established in 1978 at Okpo Bay, Geoje Island, on the southeastern tip of the Korean Peninsula, developed into one of the world's premium specialized shipbuilding and offshore contractor that builds various vessels, offshore platforms, drilling rigs , floating oil production units, submarines, and destroyers. All vessels and offshore products produced its by DSME are of unparalleled quality backed by its cutting-edge IT and systemized shipbuilding technologies based on its cutting-edge IT, sophisticated offshore platform construction expersence building as well as large plant project management skill, the state-of-the-art technological prowess to build submarines and 5,500-ton class destroyers.
Daewoo (Korean for "Great Universe") employ approximately 1,500 design and R&D personnel with prolific experience, and more than 10,000 skilled workers. These superb workforce work as a team to build environmentally safe vessels with 40-year life span and outfitting that allows easy maintenance and repairs, fully complying with international standards including IMO.
Firms like Daewoo were caught out by the Asian financial crisis in the late 1990s, when a sudden economic downturn cut off the cash flow needed to service mounting debts. South Korea's huge industrial conglomerates, the family-owned chaebol, piled debt upon debt to finance their rapid expansion programmes. Daewoo was rescued by its banks in August 1999 and a debt rescheduling programme began, aimed at selling off the firm or its assets.
South Korea's troubled Daewoo Motor Company was officially declared bankrupt after defaulting on $155m of debt on 08 November 2000. The company owed its creditors $10.6 billion. Daewoo Co. was separated to three companies starting from 27 December 2000. Daewoo Co. announced its registration of spinning-off of the company to three companies, Daewoo International Corporation (CEO Lee Tae-Yong) for trading part, Daewoo Engineering & Construction Co., Ltd for construction part and Daewoo Corporation for the rest of the remaining companies. Therefore, Daewoo International and Daewoo Construction were reborn as a clean companies, leaving insolvent assets to the remaining corporation.
After entering the financial workout along with other Daewoo group companies in August 1999, DSME took the opportunity to make a fresh start following its spin-off from the former Daewoo Heavy Industries Ltd. in October 2000. DSME was listed on the stock exchange on February 2, 2001 and is preparing for a second take-off in the 21st Century.
DSME, reborn as an independent company in October 2000, is shaping Korea's marine sector. DSME continually strives to maintain its position as a model company committed to the well being the society as a whole, by producing its products with its earnest dedication to quality in an autonomous, accountable and vigorous working environment. DSME is also devoted to satisfying the needs of both employees and customers as a value-creating company that always protects the interests of its investors through transparent and solid business management.
DSME, being the only Korean company with the experiences of building 1,200-ton class submarine, has built and delivered 9 submarines based on 500 skilled technical workforce with submarine specialty and specialized facilities for submarine building. Moreover, it has built various ranges of ships from frigates to 5,500-ton class destroyers, covering warship and submarine rescue ship, contributing to Korean navy's military power buildup.
Through submarine building which started in 1989, DSME has acquired its own submarine engineering, construction and overhaul capabilities, and built three Korean-type destroyers with helicopter operation facilities together with state-of-the-art weapons including surface-to-surface and surface-to-air missiles and CIWS (Closed-In Weapon System).
DSME, based on its 14-year experience of building submarines, developed the basic design system for a submarine with its own technology in 1999, reaching the level of submarine design engineering that only 10 countries have reach in the world. It has also acquired its own repair and overhaul capabilities for submarines by achieving localization of material including submarine steel plates and by reverse engineering.
DSME's submarines and destroyers have been involved in the Pacific Rim joint military trainings and RIMPAC training, respectively, demonstrating their capabilities of conducting military operations. Based upon its own technological power, it exported its 2,300-ton frigate battleship to Bangladesh, which was developed by the Company, for the first time among Asian nations, opening a new chapter in the Korean defense industry.
DSME is the only company that builds submarines with its independent technology in Korea. It has built 9 submarines in the last 14 years. The Company mainly builds 1,200 ton 209-class SSK attack submarines with their superior fire power and stealth. It can navigate at 22 knots (40.7 kph) maximum underwater speed while conducting a 2-month independent operation with a maximum 40 member crew on board. Loaded with advanced sonar, combat system, and torpedoes, it possesses awesome fighting capabilities.
DSME, based on its 14-year experience of building submarines, developed an independent basic design system for submarines in 1999. Consequently, the company attained a level of submarine design and engineering only 10 other countries have reached. The company has also acquired its own overhaul and modernization capabilities for submarines.
The submarines built by DSME are successfully performing their operations. They succeeded in avoiding detection by enemy submarines in joint military exercises with the U.S., Australia, Japan and other nations in RIMPAC training to once again demonstrate their superiority. In 1999, the ¡®Lee choen¡¯ demonstrated its fire power by sinking a virtual target, a 10,670-ton class warship, with only a single torpedo. As s result of harnessing its accumulated engineering skills, DSME has become an exporter of submarines by winning orders from the Indonesian Navy in 2005. DSME seeks to develop its position in the submarine market in the future.
In 1989, DSME succeeded in building a 4,000-ton destroyer which is now the main model of destroyer in the Korean navy. The achievement was made possible with DSME's 100% competence in design engineering and created Korea's first warship. This model of destroyer has self-defense capabilities, outstanding fire power and a speed of 30 knots. It is capable of tracking and destroying missiles, airplanes, surface combatants and submarines.
After the company successfully built three 4,000-ton class destroyers, DSME won the order for a 5,000 ton class destroyer in 1999. The delivery for the prototype was made in 2001 and began the realization of the Korean navy's dream to emerge as a blue water navy. Backed by its advanced technology DSME delivered a 2,300 ton class frigate in June 2001 to the navy of Bangladesh, which was unprecedented among Korean shipbuilders. It put Korea on the list of warship exporting countries. In addition DSME has built numerous 1,000 ~ 3,000-ton warships of various kinds.
In addition to warships, DSME builds support vessels for military marine operations, and numerous other specialty vessels. The first Korean submarine rescue ship "Chonghaejin", which was built for submarine rescue operation in 1996 was equipped with all of the state-of-the-art systems such as sophisticated deep-water submerging system including deep submersible rescue vehicles and salvage equipments for submarine, and a heliport for emergency transportation. This vessel successfully salvaged a North Korean submarine three months after it sank 150m under the sea, 100 km south of Geoje Island on March 1999. The ship is still actively operating in other underwater rescue operations. DSME has the experience of building 1,000-ton class patrol & salvage ship that can be engaged in various maritime rescue operations. As an example, DSME's tug boat can tow a 5,000-ton class vessel at 7-knot speed.
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