By Kyunghee Park
(Bloomberg) — Samsung Engineering Co., South Korea’s biggest engineering company, jumped the most in more than 18 years on expectations that it would try again to merge with Samsung Heavy Industries Co.
The shares gained 19 percent to 33,150 won, the biggest surge since they started trading on the Korea Exchange in January 1997. Samsung Heavy, the world’s third-largest shipyard, climbed 11 percent to 13,350 won and was the best performing stock Wednesday on the MSCI Asia Pacific Index.
Samsung Heavy Chief Executive Officer Park Dae Young said a merger with Samsung Engineering could create synergy, although it will be difficult to pursue a combination soon. The two units of Samsung Group, South Korea’s biggest conglomerate, called off a merger attempt in November 2014 after failing to win shareholders’ support.
“Samsung Heavy’s comment on a merger has boosted share prices of the two companies,” said Park Moo Hyun, an analyst at Hana Daetoo Securities Co. in Seoul. “There’s a possibility that a merger could be considered early next year.”
Samsung Group planned the merger last year to help the companies effectively compete with Technip SA and Saipem SpA in the offshore oil and gas market. A combination of the two Seoul- based manufacturers would have the scale to bid for bigger orders, such as building large LNG ships and development of energy projects.
In November, Samsung Group scrapped the 2.5 trillion won ($2.1 billion) merger after some investors asked the companies to buy back the shares they held. According to regulations in South Korea, a company can call off a merger should buyback requests reach a level that could increase its financial burden.
©2015 Bloomberg News