Hyundai Shipyard CraneHyundai Heavy Industries, the world’s largest shipyard, expects to boost orders 54 per cent this year as growing global trade and increasing oil exploration spur demand for vessels and offshore equipment. New contracts may total US$26.6 billion, the highest since 2008, the Ulsan, South Korea-based company said on Friday in a regulatory filing. Sales, which reflect completed work, may rise 20 per cent to a record 26.9 trillion won (S$30.8 billion), it said.

Last year, orders jumped 61 per cent as shipping lines renewed fleet expansion plans following the end of a trade slump during the global recession. Energy companies, such as Total SA and Petroleo Brasileiro SA, have also begun signing deals for rigs and offshore structures alongside a 13 per cent increase in oil prices last year.

‘It’s still a buyer’s market for now, but that will likely change,’ said Lee Sokje, an analyst at Mirae Asset Securities in Seoul. ‘Things will be more favourable to shipyards next year (2011).’ Hyundai Heavy, which also makes power plants and energy equipment, booked US$17.2 billion of orders in 2010. The tally included its first US solar power plant contract, worth US$700 million; a US$1.6 billion deal to build a power plant in Saudi Arabia; and an expanded order for 10 ships able to carry more than 13,000 containers each from Hapag Lloyd AG. Sales rose 6.1 per cent to a record 22.4 trillion won, the company said in a separate regulatory filing.

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