STX Shipbuilding's stake in Aker Yards
 
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STX Shipbuilding's stake in Aker Yards

      1/8/2008

EU antitrust regulators have recently opened an in-depth probe into South Korean group STX Shipbuilding's purchase of a controlling minority interest in Norwegian shipbuilder Aker Yards. The South Korean shipbuilder bought the 39-percent stake in Aker Yards in October for 800 million dollars (563 million dollars), acquiring an interest just below a 40-percent threshold that requires a full takeover to be launched.

The European Commission set itself a May 15 deadline to rule on whether the deal should be allowed or not in order to determine whether the transaction would stifle competition. The Commission said the market for building cruise ships was currently controlled by three companies, including Aker Yards. However, it had evidence that STX was preparing to enter the cruise ship market and therefore voiced concern that the deal would prevent the emergence of a new competitor. Although Norway is not a member of the European Union, it is subject to the bloc's antitrust regulations as a member of the European Economic Area, which includes the EU's 27 members plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.


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