STX OSV PSV Platform Supply Vessel offshore

World’s Largest Offshore Rig Builders, Keppel and Sembcorp, Deny Plans to Acquire Korean Shipbuilder

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January 19, 2012

SINGAPORE (Dow Jones)–Singapore-listed rig builders Keppel Corp. Ltd. (BN4.SG) and Sembcorp Marine Ltd. (S51.SG) both said Wednesday they aren’t currently making bids for a controlling stake in STX OSV Holdings Ltd. (MS7.SG), the Singapore-listed unit of South Korea’s STX Group.

The world’s largest and second-largest builders of offshore oil rigs by volume issued separate statements to the Singapore Exchange clarifying their positions after news media reports cited both as potential suitors for the stake.

Speculation arose after STX Group, South Korea’s shipping-to-shipbuilding conglomerate, said Tuesday it is inviting 18 unnamed companies to consider acquiring a controlling stake in STX OSV, which builds offshore and specialized vessels.

Keppel Corp. said it isn’t making a bid and reiterated that “in the course of its business, it will explore various investments and acquisitions proposals.” It said “if and when there are any material developments which warrant a disclosure” it would make the appropriate announcement to the exchange.

Sembcorp Marine also said it isn’t currently making a bid and that it “evaluates investment opportunities from time to time and will make the necessary announcements when appropriate.”

STX Group is looking to sell its entire 50.75% stake in STX OSV, held by STX Europe, which is wholly controlled by two affiliates of STX Group–STX Offshore & Shipbuilding Co. (067250.SE) and STX Engine Co. (077970.SE)–a company official told Dow Jones Newswires by telephone Tuesday.

Based on the closing share price of STX OSV Tuesday, the total cost of STX Group’s stake would be S$832 million, DMG & Partners analyst Jason Saw wrote in a research note. He said by acquiring the STX Group stake, potential buyers will have to make a mandatory general offer for all remaining shares in STX OSV, meaning the price tag for the deal could be more than S$1.65 billion.

“Keppel Corp. and Sembcorp Marine have the right balance sheet to make a takeover of that size and may be a potential fit” because of “cross-selling of offshore products, expansion in Brazil and strong culture for R&D, but are unlikely to be desperate to start an aggressive bidding war for the majority stake,” Saw noted.

-By Matthew Allen, Dow Jones Newswires

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