STX Conquers European Shipyard

STX Europe is the new name for Aker Yards, focusing on building war ships, cruisers and marine structures

The name of Aker Yards was been changed to STX Europe ASA at a board meeting held on Sept. 3 in Oslo, Norway, where its home office is located. Chairman Kang Duk-soo of STX Group chaired the first board meeting since the Korean conglomerate took over control of the world-famous Norwegian shipyard in October last year.
Officials of the group said the board meeting, which named Kim Suh-joo as chairman of the board and Noh Kwang-ki managing director of the shipbuilding firm a member of the board, completed the STX Group's takeover of the Norwegian shipyard.
The names of the affiliated companies of Aker Yards will also be changed in the near future, STX officials said.
They said STX increased its stake in the Norwegian shipyard to 88.4 percent, giving complete control of the shipyard to the Korean conglomerate, which now has in its direct control 18 shipyards of the former Aker Yards located in eight European countries. The group bought 48 percent of the shares through public purchases to expand its stake in the shipyard.
With the takeover of the shipyard, STX Group will now focus on cruise ship building and offshore equipment construction as its core business sectors.
St. Nazaire shipyard was launched in 1861 as the largest shipyard in France, turning out such ships as cruisers and aircraft carriers for the French Navy. Alsthom, a representative French defense industrial firm, took over the shipyard in 1984, but sold it to Aker Yards in 2006.
STX officials said the Nazaire shipyard is in a good position to bid for the contract to build an aircraft carrier weighing 75,000 tons, planned by the French government to replace the Charles de Gaulle when she retires, and has a good chance to win the project.
They said Norway, France and Finland will be its strategic countries for its major locations. The group eyes building cruisers and other defense industry equipment; Norway for its marine plant production base and Finland will be its base for building to--class cruisers and ice-breakers, along with other new businesses to be launched in the future.
STX Group's takeover of the Norwegian shipyard has not been easy because of the opposition by European shipyards and some European countries unease about a Korean shipbuilder's control of one of the largest European shipyards. They didn't want to see a shipyard more than 100 years old and a frontrunner in cruise ship building be turned over to a non-European company.
But the European Union gave its approval for the deal on May 5 and STX bought additional shares through public purchases on Aug. 18 to secure all rights to Aker Yards.
It took some 10 months for STX to obtain 88.4 percent of the shares of the shipyard since first acquiring a 39.2 percent stake in October last year.
Chairman Kang told the board of directors meeting held in Oslo that he hopes strong leaders will lead the shipyard and boost productivity in the second half for a greater profit.
Chairman Kang said the 21st century is the age of digital information and unlimited competition where there are constant demands for change and innovation at a global standard.
With the acquisition of Aker Yards, STX now has shipbuilding operations in three regions: Korea, China and Europe. nw

A cruiser liner built by Aker Yards, whose name was changed to STX Europe recently.

Chairman Kang Duk-soo of STX Group shakes hands with French President Nicolas Sarkozy at STX Shipyard in Ste. Nazaire Aug. 30.

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