As Debt Problems Worsen, STX May Sell off Shipyards Worldwide

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May 3, 2013

STX Finland’s Helsinki shipyard. Photo: STX Europe

reuters logoSEOUL, May 3 (Reuters) – South Korea’s STX Offshore & Shipbuilding Co Ltd said on Friday it is considering the sale of shipyards in France, Finland and China as STX Group looks to address its mounting debt.

Holding company STX Corp – and affiliates STX Heavy Industries Co Ltd and STX Engine – have applied to creditors for corporate restructuring, main creditor Korea Development Bank (KDB) said.

Separately, a spokesman said on Friday that STX Corp had agreed to sell a 43.2 percent stake in heating and power unit STX Energy to a Seoul-based private equity firm.

STX Group since last year has shed assets including a stake in STX Energy and Singapore-listed Vard Holdings Ltd, formerly STX OSV Holdings Ltd.

The group has been hurt by a downturn in the global shipping industry since the financial crisis.

STX Group affiliates have roughly 1 trillion Korean won ($907.81 million) in corporate bonds maturing this year, KDB Executive Director Ryu Heui-kyoung told reporters on Friday.

STX Engine missed payment of a combined 79.3 billion won that matured on Tuesday and Thursday. STX Corp faces some 200 billion won in debt maturing this month, Ryu said.

STX Offshore, which applied for corporate restructuring earlier this year, is currently undergoing due diligence by creditors before terms of the restructuring are decided.

It controls STX France and STX Finland through subsidiary STX Europe AS.

STX Offshore’s China subsidiary STX Dalian Shipbuilding Co is seeking a capital infusion including a possible stake sale, an STX Corp spokesman previously told Reuters.

KDB’s private equity arm is currently conducting due diligence in STX Pan Ocean Co Ltd with an eye toward buying the unit after the shipper attracted no suitors in an open bidding.

($1 = 1101.5500 Korean won) (Reporting by Joyce Lee; editing by Jason Neely)

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