Dutch shipbuilder Damen is looking to acquire a 49% stake in Vietnamese shipyard Ha Long, according to reports in Vietnamese state media and a press release by Ha Long’s parent company, the state-owned Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (SBIC).
An official from Damen told IHS Jane’s that the company would not comment on the reports, but in a statement on 3 June SBIC (formerly the Vietnam Shipbuilding Industry Group – Vinashin) claimed Damen was a potential investor in its Ha Long subsidiary, which, according to IHS Jane’s Fighting Ships, has built vessels for the Vietnam Coast Guard (Canh Sat Bien Vietnam – CSBV).
“SBIC … now has foreign investors interested in shares in Ha Long,” the corporation said. “Damen in the Netherlands has expressed interest in becoming a strategic investor. SBIC expects to sell a 49% stake to a strategic investor.” The value of the investment was not disclosed.
Earlier the government-controlled Vietnam News (VNS) said Damen was expected to buy a 49% stake in Ha Long as part of SBIC’s continuing restructuring, through which it is converting some state-owned assets into a public limited company. Vietnam refers to this process as ‘equitisation’.
VNS said that Ha Long was one of eight subsidiaries that SBIC expects to equitise in 2015. It added that in 2014 Ha Long’s industrial output was valued at VND1 trillion (USD46 million) and that its revenues reached VND1.38 trillion.
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Although Damen has not confirmed its potential investment in Vietnam, such a move appears in line with the company’s efforts to expand in the Southeast Asian country.
In March 2014 Damen inaugurated a shipyard it manages through a joint venture (JV) with local shipbuilder Song Cam and the company has previously signalled an intention to launch further JVs in the country.
This industrial presence is geared primarily to building vessels for commercial sectors, but, according to IHS Jane’s Fighting Ships, the Dutch company collaborated with Ha Long on the construction of two of four DN 2000 (Damen 9014-class) offshore patrol vessels for the CSBV, which were commissioned in 2014.
Moreover, the Vietnam People’s Navy is acquiring two Damen SIGMA 9814 corvettes. The boats are being built in the Netherlands but additional vessels are likely to be constructed in Vietnam.