Philippine shipyard takeover talks nearly finalised, Australian ambassador confirms
Negotiations are nearly completed between South Korea’s Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction (HHIC) and Austal Australia regarding the acquisition of Hanjin’s shipyard facilities at the former US Navy base in Subic in the Philippines, Australia’s Ambassador to Manila confirmed on Tuesday, May 4.
Speaking to reporters during an online press briefing, Ambassador Steven J Robinson said that the negotiations that have been ongoing for about two years recently reached a “critical” stage and may be finalised within two months’ time.
Mr Robinson clarified that details of the talks between the two companies remain confidential. However, the ambassador said he hopes for a “positive outcome” that will result in Austal taking ownership of the Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction Philippines (HHIC-Phil) facilities to further expand its presence in the country.
Mr Robinson and Austal director for Asia Dave Shiner said that, if approved, the former Hanjin shipyard in Subic will be Austal’s second facility in the Philippines.
The company’s first Philippine shipyard is in Balamban, Cebu province, and is dedicated mainly to the construction of large passenger vessels for overseas markets.
HHIC-Phil filed for court receivership in January 2019 after it failed to repay a total debt of over US$1.3 billion to Philippine and South Korean lenders. The company was forced to cease work on six newbuilding projects as a result.
HHIC-Phil had been engaged primarily in the construction of very large crude carriers (VLCCs), containerships, and bulk carriers prior to its closure.