STX Shipbuilding Buys $800 Million Stake in Aker Yards

South Korea's STX Shipbuilding said on Tuesday it had bought a 39.2 percent stake in Norwegian shipbuilder Aker Yards for $800 million to boost its European business, sending STX shares sharply higher.

The stake purchase underlined STX Shipbuilding's commitment to fast expansion and would bolster its networks in Europe, said Song Jae-hak, an analyst at Woori Investment & Securities.

STX Shipbuilding, competing with bigger rivals such as Hyundai Heavy Industries and Daewoo Shipbuilding, has been benefiting from booming orders of bulk carriers from Europe.

It also is flush with cash after a 590 billion won ($643.5 million) public offering of affiliate shipping firm STX Pan Ocean last month in Seoul.

STX said in a filing with the Korea Exchange that it had bought 44,565,360 shares in Aker for $800 million in after-hours trade, which represented $17.95 per share, or about a 38 percent premium to Aker's Monday closing price of 70.50 crowns, according to Reuters calculations.

Aker builds cruise, ferry and offshore and specialized vessels. In August, the Norwegian shipbuilder posted bigger than expected losses from its core operations in the second quarter of this year, weighed by cost overruns at its ferry and cruise ship yard in Finland.

STX added that the stake purchase was financed through borrowing and new share offerings by its affiliate companies.