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S.Korea STX Buys Out Aker Yards in Tender Offer

South Korean shipbuilding-to-energy group STX said on Monday it had secured full management rights in No.1 European shipmaker Aker Yards, more than doubling its stake in the firm to 88.4 percent through a $635.5 million tender offer.

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AP

The acquisition of Aker Yards gives STX a high-end cruise ship and specialized offshore vessel business.

STX Group said in a statement it amassed 54.51 million shares in the Norwegian company in the 63 crowns-per-share tender offer as of Aug. 18, securing an additional 48 percent stake.

STX Shipbuilding, the flagship unit of STX Group, had raised its stake in Aker Yards to 40.4 percent in June, which triggered a mandatory offer to buy out minority interests in the firm.

"STX Group will fully take over the management of Aker Yards once the buyout is settled by Aug. 29," the group said. Funding will come from STX Shipbuilding's cash reserves and investors, it added.

Following the acquisition, STX Group plans to rename the company STX Europe ASA and make its Norwegian headquarters a specialized offshore vessel manufacturing base.

Aker Yards' French unit, which will be renamed STX France Cruise SA, will focus on the cruise and defence businesses.

Aker Yards competes with Italy's Fincantieri and Germany's Meyer Werft in the cruise ship market, one of the few niches of the shipbuilding industry not dominated by Asian makers.

Earlier in August, Aker Yards reported lower-than-expected second-quarter results of 72 million crowns ($13.3 million) in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) and warned of tougher times ahead. Shipyards around Europe are facing a weaker global economy and rising costs.

STX Shipbuilding meanwhile reported April-June net profit of 66.2 billion won ($63.7 million), up 15 percent from a year earlier, on 54 percent higher quarterly revenue of 710.9 billion won.

Shares in STX Shipbuilding were up 1.31 percent at 23,250 won in the Asian session, outperforming the wider market's 0.13 percent loss. Aker Yards shares last traded at 62.5 crowns.