Zodiac may look to buy STX Pan Ocean

By Park Hyung-ki
  • Published : Jan 3, 2013 - 11:11
  • Updated : Jan 3, 2013 - 13:19

Zodiac Maritime Agencies, a global ship owner and manager, could be interested in acquiring STX Pan Ocean, Korea’s leading operator of bulk carriers, industry sources said.

The London-based ship management company, owned by the Ofer family, is believed to have emerged as "one of the potential overseas candidates" to purchase a controlling 36.8 percent stake in the Korean shipping company, the sources claimed.

The 36.8 percent is held by STX, the parent holding company, STX Offshore & Shipbuilding, STX Engine and some of its executives, including STX chairman Kang Duk-soo.

Both sides are likely holding talks in Singapore, where STX Pan Ocean has a wholly-owned subsidiary and is listed.

Zodiac’s main business is chartering out ships to shipping companies, and could generate synergy with Pan Ocean through the acquisition, industry sources noted.

The global ship owner had previously ordered bulk carriers from STX’s shipbuilding unit, and Pan Ocean has sent information to three potential overseas buyers, according to news reports.

Pan Ocean has been considered a cash cow of STX Group, and its bulk carrier operations account for over 70 percent of its business, according to financial statements. But recently, it has been suffering losses amid a slowdown in global shipping.

STX has been seeking to deleverage through sales of core units to secure liquidity for financial soundness.

Despite STX Pan Ocean’s recent losses, industry sources said the company still has a high brand value due to its bulk carrier services.

The company disclosed via regulatory filing that it was in talks with a strategic buyer, and told the media that potential overseas buyers have shown more interest in Pan Ocean than domestic companies.

Glovis and Samsung SDS had been mentioned as potential Korean bidders but they have denied interest.

Pan Ocean has a long-term contract with customers including POSCO, KOSEP and KOSPO, according to financial statements.

STX said that nothing had been decided yet, adding that no companies have yet expressed interest in acquiring Pan Ocean.

Zodiac’s Shanghai office could not be reached for comment.

By Park Hyong-ki and Chung Joo-won

<관련 한글 기사>

조디악, STX팬오션 인수 후보자로 거론

글로벌 선주사인 조디악마리타임에이전시는 STX팬오션의 해외 잠재 인수 후보자 중 하나로 거론 되고 있다.

업계관계자들에 의하면, 현재 팬오션은 조디악과 싱가포르에서 협의 중일 가능성이 높다.

국내 최대 벌크선사인 팬오션은 싱가포르에 자회사가 있으며 상장되어 있다.

조디악의 주요 사업은 용선이며 팬오션 인수 통해서 업계에서 시너지를 창출을 할 수 있을 것이라고 한다.

STX그룹은 재무개선 그리고 유동성 확보 위해 핵심 자회사들을 매각 작업에 돌입했다.

STX, STX조선해양, STX엔진 그리고 STX 강덕수 회장을 포함한 임원들이 소유하고 있는 팬오션의 36.8프로 지분을 매각중이다.

지난 STX그룹의 캐시카우 역할을 해오던 팬오션은 세계 경기 침체와 업계 불황으로 영업적자를 기록하고 있었으나 관계자들은 팬오션의 브랜드 가치는 여전히 높다고 했다.

보도에 의하면, STX는 조디악으로 부터 벌크선 수주했으며, 또 팬오션의 매각 정보를 3개 유력한 해외 인수자에게 전달했다고 한다.

국내 잠재 인수후보로는 현대글로비스, 삼성SDS였으나 국내 회사들은 관심이 없다고 했다. STX는 국내보다 해외 기업들이 관심을 더 많이 가지고 있다고 했다.

재무제표에 의하면, 팬오션의 장기 계약을 맺은 고객사는 포스코, 남동발전, 남부발전이다. 팬오션의 벌크선 사업은 전체 매출에서 70프로 넘게 차지한다. (코리아헤럴드)