Samsung Heavy Industries is reviewing a letter from the Korea Development Bank asking Samsung’s shipbuilding arm to consider acquiring ailing ship maker Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering, the company said Friday.
KDB is the largest shareholder of DSME and has been accelerating efforts to sell the company to other Korean shipbuilders.
“Although it is true the management is discussing the matter, now is not the time to disclose the direction of the review,” said an official from Samsung Heavy Industries.
On Jan. 31, the KDB sent a proposal to Samsung Heavy Industries for the acquisition of DSME.
On the same day the KDB announced it would set up an intermediate holding company with Hyundai Heavy Industries for the privatization of DSME to hand its stake over to the holding firm.
If Samsung Heavy Industries submits its proposal to the KDB by Feb. 28, the state-owned policy bank is slated to decide on a final buyer between the nation’s two-largest shipbuilders next month.
However, industry watchers have cast doubt on whether Samsung Heavy Industries would acquire DSME because Samsung Group appears to have no strong willingness to grow its shipbuilding business. Furthermore, the nation’s largest conglomerate does not seem interested in buying a company with a strong union.
Hwang Oh-yeon, a researcher at Shinhan Investment Corp., said it is unlikely that Samsung would pursue the deal as “The group has gradually sold off its businesses related to materials and industrial goods since 2014 in order to focus on its information technology businesses.”
By Shin Ji-hye (firstname.lastname@example.org)