STX Offshore to Get New $1.7 Billion Loan In Creditor Rescue Attempt

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February 19, 2014

STX Dalian, Image: STX

reuters_logo1SEOUL, Feb 19 (Reuters) – Creditors of South Korea’s STX Offshore & Shipbuilding Co Ltd have decided to lend the debt-laden shipbuilder an extra 1.8 trillion won ($1.7 billion), two creditor sources with direct knowledge of the matter said.

The fresh funds are being made available after a new round of due diligence uncovered loss-making orders that STX Offshore took on to avoid a short-term liquidity squeeze, one person familiar with the matter said.

Under terms of the new loan, the extra money is to be paid back before other debt when STX Offshore has funds available, the person said. Main creditor Korea Development Bank (KDB) and other banks had already agreed to inject about 2.7 trillion won into STX Offshore last year.

STX Offshore is part of a batch of affiliates of the shipping conglomerate STX Group, such as holding company STX Corp, that applied for creditor rescue last year after being hit by falling ship prices since the global financial crisis.

Many of the loss-making orders reviewed in the latest round of due diligence have since been cancelled or renegotiated, one source said. The people familiar with the matter were not authorized to speak directly to media.

Despite creditors’ rescue attempts, STX Offshore is expected to be delisted after March as its debt outweighed capital by 1.4 trillion won as of the third quarter last year. Trading in the stock has been halted since earlier this month.

Due diligence is now complete. The chief executive of KDB Hong Ky-ttaek told reporters at a press conference last week that a process of selling some STX assets is expected to move to the next stage as early as next month. Credit Suisse is advising on the sale of two remaining European units of STX Offshore.

The Finnish government bought a majority stake in ice-breaking technology company Aker Arctic for 9 million euros ($12 million) from STX Finland, a unit of STX Offshore, in December.

South Korea’s largest bulk shipper, Pan Ocean, previously STX Pan Ocean, is expected to be put on the block this year as its operations are normalizing quickly, KDB’s Hong said.

Pan Ocean was spun off from STX Group in December while in court receivership. ($1 = 1065.7000 Korean won) (Reporting by Joyce Lee; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell)

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