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South Korea to Privatize Daewoo Ship Immediately

South Korea will Privatize state-invested firms including Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering, its finance minister said on Tuesday, lifting shares of the world's No.3 shipbuilder by 5 percent.

**FILE** A cargo ship uploads containers at the Jebel Ali port about 40 kms south of Dubai, United Arab Emirates, in this file  photo from June 22, 2006. Dubai's state-run port operator, Dubai Ports World, is looking at acquiring terminals in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Canada says a Canadian Senator.  (AP Photo/ Kamran Jebreili-File)
Kamran Jebreili
**FILE** A cargo ship uploads containers at the Jebel Ali port about 40 kms south of Dubai, United Arab Emirates, in this file photo from June 22, 2006. Dubai's state-run port operator, Dubai Ports World, is looking at acquiring terminals in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Canada says a Canadian Senator. (AP Photo/ Kamran Jebreili-File)

"State-owned firms that compete in the private sector, such as Daewoo, will be privatized immediately," finance minister Kang Man-soo said in a parliamentary session, responding to a lawmaker's question.

State-run Korea Development Bank, which is set to be privatized, built up stakes in companies such as Daewoo Shipbuilding, Hyundai Engineering & Construction and chipmaker Hynix in the wake of 1997-98 Asian financial crisis and subsequent liquidity problems.

Shares in Daewoo Shipbuilding, which will be put up for sale by its top shareholders this year, rose by as much as 5 percent, as the minister's comment cleared investor concerns over a further delay in the bidding process of an estimated $4 billion deal. A stake of just over 50 percent will go up for sale.

The shares were trading 2.4 percent higher at 39,100 won in the morning session, resisting the trend in a weaker wider market.

Slow progress in the bidding process due to union protests and delays in selecting a lead manager, which coincided with a retreat in global stocks and a decision to exclude foreign bidders, has benefited potential buyers of Daewoo by reducing competition and the value of the deal by $2 billion from a year ago.