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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Dominant South Korean shipyards enjoy glut, worry about China

ULSAN, South Korea, May 15 (AFP) - The world's biggest shipyard is so busy, management had to reinvent shipbuilding to keep up with demand.

Ships are usually built in dry dock similar to a huge swimming pool without water.

But with 25 big ships under construction at nine crowded dry docks, the company had to innovate or turn away customers.

"Our drydocks are full until 2008. So we are now building ships on dry land," said Yu Kwan-Hong, president and chief executive of Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI), the world's number one shipyard.

The new technique pioneered by the shipyard is not cost-efficient but allows HHI to build ships faster and maintains South Korea as the world's number one shipbuilder.

How long that dominance can last is a question now troubling workers and management here and the focus of their concern is China.

South Korea only displaced Japan in 2003 as the world's largest shipbuilding nation, led by HHI which opened its first dry dock in 1972 and now produces more tonnage than any other company.

In 2004, South Korea further cemented its global leadership by receiving some 15 million gross tonnes of orders, almost double the amount won by Japan.

According to London-based insurance giant Lloyd's, South Korean shipbuilders secured 35 percent of global orders last year, compared to 42.9 percent a year earlier. Japan was second with 30.3 percent.

But China has come from nowhere in two decades to become the world's third largest shipbuilder. Its share of the global shipbuilding market surged from a mere 0.8 percent in 1982 to nearly 13 percent in 2004.

The Chinese have invested billions of dollars in port facilities in an ambitious bid to overtake South Korea and Japan by 2015.

Yet while China has made great progress, there is still a large gap with South Korea, Hana Securities analyst Lee Seung-Jae said.

"With cheap labor and government support, China's shipbuilding industry is growing rapidly. But its labor productivity and technology are still far behind those of South Korean yards," he said.

South Korea is taking orders for 2009 as its shipyards are fully booked until 2008.

But its backlog of orders topped 33 million tonnes at the end of 2004, allowing China to win contracts for low-technology ships.

To maintain its lead over China, South Korea has already shifted its focus towards high value-added ships, said HHI chief Yu to journalists visiting the shipyard recently.

"We have already drawn up a policy of focusing on high-end ships like super containers," he said.

HHI also puts emphasis on design development, satisfying clients with excellent after service and quick delivery.

"China has a great potential, but more important is a good system in production and management as well as infrastructure," Yu said.

HHI, once known as a hotbed for labor militancy, has not experienced labor disputes since 1995 as a result of increased spending on welfare.

"My foremost concern is labor. Nowadays, I open nearly all information on management to employees," Yu said.

HHI workers are more experienced than their Chinese counterparts and work harder than the Japanese, he said.

"Without an increase in manpower, Hyundai is capable of building and delivering more ships faster than before," Yu said.

"We have streamlined building procedures, along with an all-out campaign to increase productivity by 10 percent," Yu said, adding that HHI has cut the testing period for new ships by 30 percent.

Yu is not complacent, saying China may overtake South Korea after 2015, if the government treats shipbuilding as a sunset industry.

"Chinese shipyards are certain to pose a threat to us if they boost their competitiveness with less state control," he said.

Yu said global orders are expected to dwindle from 70 million tonnes in 2004 to 35 million tonnes in 2006. Yet HHI expects a strong performance for 2007 when vessels contracted at raised prices due to higher steel costs are delivered.

South Korean shipbuilders posted record sales last year, but lofty costs and the won's strength against the US dollar have made a big dent in their profitability.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
SKorea wins half of world's shipbuilding orders: ministry
9 September 2008
Agence France Presse

South Korean yards won half of the world's shipbuilding orders in the first half of this year, strengthening the country's dominance in the industry, the government said Tuesday.

The Ministry of Knowledge Economy and the shipbuilding industry said yards secured orders for 12.40 million compensated gross tons, or 50.6 percent of the world total.

It said overall global demand fell sharply compared to 2007 but the proportion of orders won by local companies increased.

In 2007 South Korea secured 38.9 percent of all orders placed against 37.3 percent for its main rival China. In the first half China's share dipped to 34.3 percent.

Local experts quoted by Yonhap news agency said many shipping companies that wanted to place orders with Korean yards had turned to China in the past, because of huge backlogs here.

They had started to return to Korea with the general drop in order volume.

Shipbuilding is one of the country's top five export industries with the total value of overseas sales reaching 27.68 billion dollars last year.

It has been the world's top shipbuilder since 2003 and is home to the world's five largest yards, led by Hyundai Heavy Industries.
 

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I believe that HANJIN (Korean company) has built a shipyard in the Philippines to accomodate the orders. Still wasn't enough, they will build the third largest ship-building facility in the world again in the southern part of the Philippines.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
S. KOREAN SHIPYARDS EYE MASSIVE ORDERS FROM BRAZIL

SEOUL, July 2 Asia Pulse - South Korean shipbuilding companies are expected to win mega deals from Brazil's state oil company despite shrinking orders for new vessels, a local businessman said Thursday.

Petrobras, Brazil's state-run oil firm, is projected to place orders for offshore oil development vessels such as drill ships and storage facilities, valued at up to US$42 billion.

"A couple of local shipyards are likely to share orders from Brazil's Petrobras," Kang Duck-soo, chairman of STX Group, said in a meeting with reporters. "If we win the order, we plan to increase shipbuilding capacity in Brazil," he said.

In April, Petrobras executives visited South Korea to explain its massive offshore development project. They said up to 57 ships and offshore platforms would be needed for the project.

Hyundai Heavy Industries Co., South Korea's leading shipyard, and its local rivals such as Samsung Heavy Industries Co. (KSE:010140) and Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co., are competing to clinch orders from Brazil.

South Korea, with the largest shipyards in the world and the lion's share of offshore oil rigs and drill ships, is widely expected to win large orders that may help offset the sharp drop in new orders that began last year.

Hyundai Heavy and other shipyards saw a major drop in orders in the first half of the year due to a protracted global economic slump.

The country's "Big 3" shipyards, including Samsung Heavy and Daewoo Shipbuilding, received a combined $1.23 billion worth of orders in the first six months of the year, a sharp drop from $34.1 billion a year earlier.

Orders for new vessels have sunk since the third quarter of last year as the credit crisis and the subsequent global recession prodded companies to postpone delivery dates or cancel orders.

In the meantime, Hyundai Heavy and two other South Korean shipyards are bidding for contracts to construct Royal Dutch Shell Plc's floating liquefied natural gas production and storage unit, which will be the world's biggest and could be worth about $3 billion.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Dry Spell Over for Local Shipbuilders?
26 June 2009
Korea Times

Last week, STX Offshore and Shipbuilding broke South Korea's months-long order drought by winning a $340-million deal to build eight tankers. Then Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering said Friday it won a $200-million deal to build two ferries for a Greek firm.

Both are welcome signs for domestic shipbuilders who've been stuck in a rut of no orders since the second half of last year. But some question whether the latest orders signal a turnaround.

South Korean shipbuilders ― the world's largest ― are optimistic that the bottom is near, and more deals are ahead, but analysts are cautious to paint a near-term positive outlook.

``The latest results should be considered as isolated developments, instead of an overall industry trend,'' said Song Jae-hak, an analyst at Woori Investment & Securities, who forecast that a significant improvement would be difficult in the second half of this year.

He explained that the deals might signal that the ailing sector is approaching its bottom, but a meaningful recovery shouldn't be expected until next year.

Local shipyards, which enjoyed an overwhelming influx of new contracts until the third quarter of 2008, have been bogged down by order cancellations and delays as the global credit crisis and recession forced buyers to postpone purchases.

According to London-based market researcher Clarkson, a total of 65 vessels were newly ordered globally in the first four months of this year. Demand has been reduced by more than half, but the situation isn't getting better, at least not yet.

Analysts feel the demand for vessels, carriers and tankers is dropping due to the global economic slowdown, which has hampered trade across the world.

``An overall economic recovery is ultimately what's going to ring up orders again,'' said Jeon Jae-cheon, an analyst at Daeshin Securities.

He explained that the country's biggest yards still have work to do since they have three years of order backlogs, but stressed that companies need to keep a conservative stance to prepare for future uncertainties.

To weather the prolonged down-cycle, local firms including Hyundai Heavy Industries and Samsung Heavy Industries are bidding on contracts to build drill ships, semi-submersibles and other offshore platforms.

Others are competing to offer steep discounts, but analysts warn that such tactics may hurt the industry in the long run.

``Prices are already much lower than before, which means lower margins for companies,'' said Huh Moon-wook, an analyst at Samsung Securities, ``So further reductions will eventually hurt companies' bottom lines.''
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Bluff, bickering and bartering behind the shipbuilding crisis
17 July 2009
Lloyd's List

TOO many ships being built. Not enough money to pay for them. Cargoes in decline. It’s a toxic combination for Asian shipyards as they negotiate a new shipbuilding landscape following the worst global economic collapse in 50 years.

There are more than 7,000 bulk carriers on order at shipyards, as well as just under 4,200 containerships and 4,900 tankers.

Just how many vessels have been delayed or cancelled at these shipyards is closely guarded. Hardest hit, though, are the containership and bulk carrier sectors.

So just how is shipping coping and what is happening on the ground?

THE LAWYER: Mark O’Neil Partner, Reed Smith

Make no mistake. Hundreds of owners who ordered containerships and bulk carriers at Asian shipyards are closely examining the fine print of their newbuilding contracts.

“There is a huge increase in owners trying to legitimately terminate shipbuilding contracts that don’t make sense any more,” says London lawyer Mark O’Neil, a partner with Reed Smith.

“A year ago slots were at an absolute premium, now we have a complete reversal of that situation.”

Mr O’Neil claims his specialist shipbuilding team has had “significant success” in varying contract terms to the “mutual benefit” of yards and owners in about 90% of his instructions.

Because these contracts were negotiated in a very different economic climate “they don’t appear to allow buyers to cancel in any circumstances except bankruptcy of the yard, excessive delay and non-provision of refund guarantees”, says Mr O’Neil.

But there are significant loopholes. The most common solution to the parties’ problems is deferral of instalments due at various stages of construction.

“When owners cannot go forward with the contract because either the finance isn’t there or the market isn’t there and they simply cannot make the payment, then the yard has to make a hard decision,” adds Mr O’Neil. “Does it try to insist on its strict contractual position and potentially lose everything [including a future client], or does it allow a deferral to a point in time in the future that the owner might be able to pay?”

Owners are pushing contracts back by as much as two to three years to have their ships delivered after 2011 and as late as 2013, hoping finance and markets are better in the future. In some cases, vessels have been completed and are essentially “mothballed” at yards until a deferred delivery date.

“So the yard has completed the vessel and the owner accepts it from the point of view of specification, but doesn’t take legal delivery and does not pay the last few instalments until significantly later when trading levels will have hopefully picked up,” says Mr O’Neil.

And the mothballing option is more widespread than many realise.

“Yards are obviously not keen on publicising these types of commercial solutions and there is a denial that they take place,” he says.

Some shipbuilding contracts, Mr O’Neil says, were also “sloppily” or “arrogantly” drafted, which can work in an owners favour.

Many newbuildings are purchased through single-purpose (essentially assetless) nominee companies.

“But because times were good and yards had business flowing through their doors, many never insisted on performance guarantees being put up by parent or holding companies,” says Mr O’Neil.

As a result, the nominee companies have been able to walk away from such contracts without fear of recourse, or renegotiate the terms of the contracts.

However, Mr O’Neil cautions that price reductions have been the hardest changes to achieve — in part due to “face” and honour issues.

Some contracts were fixed at prices 40%-50% higher than today’s values, Mr O’Neil calculates, while lower steel prices and labour costs have seen construction costs fall.

But, ultimately, it all comes down to a game of bluff. If owners cannot secure the financing to complete the project, then the yards probably can not either.

“Even at cost price, a 14,000 teu containership represents a very significant draw on liquidity or credit and where is the yard going to get that kind of money to build that vessel?” asks Mr O’Neil.

“Commercial compromise is therefore the obvious solution, finding a deal which works for both sides.”

Those owners who talked to yards early in the downturn appear to have had an easier ride. Negotiations are now more difficult, with more at stake.

Says Mr O’Neil: “Parties no longer perceive themselves as having the luxury of sharing the pain on a compromise solution, where certain areas of the shipping market are fighting for their lives. Such compromise is still the only solution which makes any sense.”

THE BROKER: An unnamed broker Director of newbuildings, London

Cancelling a vessel can sometimes work in a shipyard’s favour.

When the freight market collapse hit in late 2008, many found themselves with bulging orderbooks.

Cash-rich owners had been on an ordering spree for 18 months, willing to pay higher and higher prices.

Many yards took as many contracts as they could manage — and more.

Marine equipment shortages developed, affecting production and ship delivery delays lengthened.

“Now yards want those ships out of the way because they have yet to cut steel on the higher-priced ships, ordered a little later, with higher profit margins,” says a London-based newbuilding director and a major London broker. Currently in South Korea, where he is in talks with shipyards, he declined to be identified.

And shipowners with a number of vessels on order at the same yard also have more chance of securing cancellations as they have more leverage, he says.

But success depends on many elements — such as the country where the shipyard is based, its size and whether it is private or government-owned.

“Shipowners who moved early at technically weaker yards got what they wanted,” says the London broker.

“When yards are smaller, the owner has more ability to get out without penalties. Often the yards are relieved to remove ships to relieve pressure as they took too many orders.”

Yards that have fallen behind schedule are also aware that contractually delays can’t exceed 210 days, or owners can refuse to take the ship. Some have already exercised this right.

Large government-owned yards in China and most yards South Korea are more able to resist pressure and are less likely to agree to cancellations. But they are offering to delay delivery. Some shipyards are claiming interest costs of about 6% to do so, says the London broker.

More and more are also agreeing to defer pre-delivery payment installations.

The London broker does not believe projections that up to 30%-40% of the orderbook will be cancelled.

In China, shipowners from Europe are walking away from their 20% deposit with a local buyer taking over the order — but at a lower cost.

“So in a way, Western money is subsidising the Chinese newbuilding orderbook,” says the broker.

In South Korea, meanwhile, some shipyards are building for their own account.

But the London broker warns that shipyards know that they cannot make one compromise too many.

He believes that chances of successfully negotiating delays, cancellations or lower prices vary widely.

Some yards have agreed discounts to save orders because the profit margin is high enough.

If steel has been cut, yards very rarely agree concessions.

And if owners can not raise the money to take delivery of their completed ship, it joins a growing number of resales.

Banks are selling about 50% of these newbuildings “but they are being quite mature about it”, adds the London broker.

“They know if they hit the panic button that will make the problem worse.”

THE BANKER: Gust Biesbroeck Fortis Bank Nederland

At least half the vessels on order at shipyards are unfunded and credit-crunched owners aren’t having much luck finding a bank to help out.

“Finance is available but not to the extent necessary,” says Gust Biesbroeck, global head of transport, Energy Commodities Transport division, Fortis Bank Nederland.

“The demand for newbuilding finance, I think, is much bigger than the banking sector can absorb right now.

“What you see is that people are more and more looking for alternative sources of capital to pay for their newbuilding programme.

“The main issue is limited capital. That is the starting point. Banks are tending to allocate capital to existing clients in situations that they feel they have to fund rather than new business opportunities.

“When I say ‘have to fund’, it is basically protecting your exposure in a certain situation.”

Even if a client has already paid a substantial deposit on their newbuilding, that is no guarantee that banks will lend money for the rest.

“If the bank is already involved in the newbuilding programme, or in the company, and not giving the money will put the company at risk there is a good reason to prioritise on that situation over a situation when you are not involved at all,” says Mr Biesbroeck.

Fortis Bank Nederland has yet to find itself owning partially-built ships because shipowners it loaned money can not meet payments, but Mr Biesbroeck says: “You may well see that already happening [elsewhere], especially where non- recourse financing has been provided, such as the [German] KG market.”

Meanwhile, Chinese and South Korean banks are not only helping bail out shipyards, but coming to the rescue of foreign owners as well.

“That’s what we see for Chinese-built ships,” says Mr Biesbroeck. “It is difficult to say [how widespread it is] but I see that it is on the increase, but how big it is I just don’t know.”

The largest problem is sourcing capital, he says.

“Some of the more prominent, pro-active banks are looking at playing an increased role there as well,” says Mr Biesbroeck. “For instance, the Eurobond market, private equity and pension funds money sourcing into deals.”
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Hyundai Heavy, Lockheed Plan To Jointly Build Aegis Ships
21 July 2009

SEOUL (Dow Jones)--South Korea's Hyundai Heavy Industries Co. (009540.SE) said Wednesday it will jointly build ships equipped with Aegis combat systems in a strategic business tie-up with Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT).

'Lockheed will deliver the Aegis system from the U.S. to Hyundai Heavy which will build the ship,' a company spokesman said by phone. 'We have held some overseas road shows since we signed an MOU in May 2006 and India has shown an interest in our joint project.'
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
S.Korea sees '09 ship exports up despite downturn

SEOUL, Sept 15 (Reuters) - South Korea's ship exports are expected to exceed $50 billion this year, rising from $43.16 billion in 2008 despite a severe industry downturn that saw new orders disappear and ship prices drop.

The Ministry of Knowledge Economy said in a statement that the shipbuilding industry's exports in the first half totaled $25.24 billion, up 34 percent from a year earlier.

South Korea is home to the world's biggest shipbuilders -- Hyundai Heavy Industries, Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering and Samsung Heavy Industries -- and has about a third of the worldwide ship order book.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Hyundai Heavy sees tough 2010, aims to boost orders

SEOUL, Dec 31 (Reuters) - South Korea's Hyundai Heavy Industries Co Ltd , the world's largest shipbuilder, expects a lingering shipbuilding downturn in 2010 but said it aimed to boost new orders by two thirds next year.

New orders Hyundai received in 2009 dropped 62 percent from 2008 amid an order draught in its mainstay shipbuilding industry since last year's financial crisis. Shippers suffering weak global demand not only place few new orders but ask for existing ones to be delayed or cancelled.

"The global economic recovery is set to continue in 2010 but the shipbuilding industry will see the downturn lasting for a considerable time due to overcapacity and weakness in shipbuilding financing," Hyundai's vice chairman and chief executive officer, Min Keh-sik, said in a statement to mark the closing of 2009.

Top shipyards including Hyundai, Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering and Samsung Heavy Industries have weathered the slump thanks to order backlogs amassed in past years.

But the prolonged downturn will likely force them to take lower-margin orders next year, hurting profits in the coming years, analysts say.

Hyundai said in a filing to the Korea Exchange that it was targetting $17.7 billion in new orders next year, compared with $10.6 billion in 2009.

The company, which also builds offshore plants, engines and wind power equipment, said it aimed to post 21.55 trillion won ($18.52 billion) in sales in 2010, compared with 21.33 billion won in 2009.

The revenue target is lower than a 23.33 trillion won average analyst forecast compiled by Reuters I/B/E/S.

Hyundai's shares fell 13 percent this year weighed down by the weak outlook, against the wider market's <.KS11> 50 percent gain.

Hyundai added it planned capital expenditure of 472.5 billion won in 2010, without providing details. ($1=1163.6 Won)
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Denmark's A.P. Moller-Maersk in deal with South Korea's Daewoo to build world's biggests ships
21 February 2011

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) - Danish shipper and oil group A.P. Moller-Maersk A/S says it has signed a $1.9 billion contract for 10 giant container vessels, expected to be the largest of any known type of ship in operation.

Maersk says each ship, to be built by South Korea's Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering, will cost $190 million and that it has an option for 20 more vessels.

The Copenhagen-based group said Monday the giant container ships will be 1,320 feet (400 meters) long, 195 feet (59 meters) wide and 241 feet (73 meters) tall.

The group said its subsidiary Maersk Line was buying the ships to position itself to profit from an expected 58 percent growth in trade between Asia and Europe and to maintain its lead in the container segment of the market.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Denmark's A.P. Moller-Maersk orders 10 more giant ships from South Korea
27 June 2011

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) - Danish shipping and oil group A.P. Moller-Maersk A/S says it has agreed to buy 10 more giant container vessels from South Korea's Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering.

The Copenhagen-based group said Monday it has exercised an option to double the number of vessels from a deal made in February. Maersk then bought 10 giant container vessels for $1.9 billion.

The cost of the additional purchase wasn't revealed.

Maersk said the 1,320 feet (400 meters) long, 195 feet (59 meters) wide and 241 feet (73 meters) tall vessels will be the largest of any known type of ship in operation.

It was buying the ships to position itself to profit from an expected 5-8 percent growth in trade between Asia and Europe and to maintain its lead in the container market.
 

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China is now the biggest ship building country, Korean's share would soon be taken over.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Banks tightening loans to shipyards
25 July 2013
Shenzhen Daily

BANKS have tightened lending to Chinese shipyards, putting more pressure on an industry that is already suffering from sluggish demand and a supply glut, as the government tries to cut excess capacity across a range of sectors.

The financing squeeze is set to hit less established yards, but could strengthen bigger players such as Yangzijiang Shipbuilding Holdings and South Korean rivals.

Some banks have started asking for more prudent ship construction contracts before they grant loans and have withdrawn loan approval rights given previously to branches, industry and banking sources said.

They are asking the yards to get clients to make upfront payments of at least 15 percent in order to get loans, said an executive at a large Chinese shipyard, who did not want to be identified as he was not authorized to speak to the media. Some yards had offered generous terms to shippers, requiring payments upfront of as low as 1 percent.

In some cases the banks are also cutting credit lines and moving to recover outstanding loans, said the China Association of the National Shipbuilding Industry.

“As the shipbuilding market remains depressed, banks and other financial institutions have listed shipbuilding as a key industry for credit control,” the association said in a comment on its website posted July 18.

An executive at a private shipyard in eastern China said banks had demanded yards charge as much as 30 percent in upfront payments from their clients. State-owned shipbuilders, though, could get easier credit terms, the executive added.

The bank measures come as China’s Cabinet said this month it would cut off credit to force consolidation in industries plagued with overcapacity. This was shortly after China Rongsheng Heavy Industries Group, the country’s largest private shipbuilder, fell into financial turmoil.

The government did not specify then the industries it had in mind, though in 2009 it named nine, including shipbuilding. Industry sources said neither the banking regulator nor any Central Government agency had issued new rules on tightening lending to shipyards or other industries.

China rivals South Korea as the world’s top shipbuilder, though the ships built in China are mostly of lower value and less complex technologically. This has forced Chinese yards to compete on price and financing terms for orders that have slowed to a trickle since the global financial crisis.

At the end of May, the orderbook of Chinese yards stood at US$68.5 billion, second to South Korea’s US$102.5 billion, even though China’s orderbook in tonnage terms exceeded South Korea’s, data from Clarkson Research Services Limited showed.

“The goal is to gradually cut down the credit but not to kill all of them at one go,” said a banking source, who did not want to be named due to the sensitivity of the matter. “As the economy is not doing well, banks aren’t willing to lend as much anyway.”

The size of outstanding loans at shipyards is unclear, but many banks are involved in handing out these loans, including top commercial banks such as Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), China Construction Bank, Agricultural Bank of China, Bank of China and Bank of Communications.

Total profit from the 1,647 Chinese shipyards whose core business revenue exceeded 20 million yuan (US$3.26 million) slumped 29.1 percent on the year to 28.8 billion yuan in the first 11 months of 2012, according to industry association data.

“Affected by banks’ restriction on loans, shipyards are facing tight working capital and difficulty in purchasing raw materials and equipment, which results in increasing phenomenon of delayed payment to suppliers and staff,” the association said.

But the Export-Import Bank of China, a policy bank and an active player in shipping finance, said it had not changed its criteria for funding ship construction recently.

“We will continue to support qualified clients,” said Chen Bin, deputy general manager of the bank’s transport finance department. (SD-Agencies)
 
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