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South Korea shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy to take over rival Daewoo

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Reuters SEOUL
By Hyunjoo Jin
SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea's Hyundai Heavy Industries, the world's biggest shipbuilding group, announced a share swap deal on Thursday to take over second-ranked Daewoo to create an industry heavyweight controlling over 20 percent of the global market.
The move comes as the worldwide shipbuilding sector recovers from a global economic downturn that led to massive losses, widespread job cuts and, in 2017, the $2.6 billion bailout of Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co Ltd.
State-funded Korea Development Bank (KDB) owns 55.7 percent of Daewoo, and has said it intends to sell the stake and consolidate the country's three biggest shipbuilders - which includes Samsung Heavy Industries Co Ltd - into two.
The shipbuilding industry accounts for 7 percent of both exports and employment in Asia's fourth-biggest economy.
The combination of two of the giant shipbuilders would ease competition and excess capacity, which have depressed ship prices, KDB Chairman Lee Dong-gull said at a news conference.
The deal will "raise the fundamental competitiveness of Daewoo, at a time when the threat from latecomers in China and Singapore is growing," Lee said.
Daewoo will also receive liquidity support of 2.5 trillion won ($2.25 billion) from KDB and Hyundai, Hyundai said in a stock exchange filing.
KDB also said it would approach Samsung Heavy to gauge any interest in taking over Daewoo.
A Samsung Heavy spokesman said it has received a proposal from KDB and that it needs to review the matter.
Daewoo shares rose as much as 22 percent on Thursday, before ending up 2.5 percent. Those of Hyundai Heavy Industries Holdings Co Ltd and unit Hyundai Heavy Industries Co Ltd fell about 4 percent on concern about a high purchase price, analysts said.
Meanwhile, Samsung Heavy shares ended up 2.5 percent, as investor concerns of it bidding for Daewoo eased.
KDB's stake was worth 2.2 trillion won as of Thursday's closing stock price, a valuation analysts regard as high.
Hyundai Heavy's workers' union said it will delay a vote on last year's wage deal in protest of a purchase it says could threaten job security. It said it would be "angered" if the shipbuilder ploughed money into buying another big firm having released workers after reporting losses and shrinking orders.
KDB's Lee ruled out any job cuts after the combination.
Hyundai's holding company is set to raise funds for acquisitions through the sale of part of its stake in refiner Hyundai Oilbank Co Ltd to Saudi Aramco for up to 1.8 trillion won.
($1 = 1,112.3800 won)
(Reporting by Hyunjoo Jin; Additional reporting by Ju-min Park, Heekyong Yang; Editing by Christopher Cushing)

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First Published: Jan 31 2019 | 1:36 PM IST

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