Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) carrier built by Hyundai Mipo Dockyard Co. (Korea Shipbuilding & Offshore Engineering Co.)
Combined order backlogs of South Korea's top five shipbuilders, led by Hyundai Heavy Industries Co., fell 22 percent in the first nine months of the year from the end of last year due to decreased new orders amid the coronavirus pandemic, industry sources said Tuesday.
But their good financial health will prevent them from raking in orders at lower prices, according to Han Young-soo, an analyst at Samsung Securities Co.
The shipbuilders have 38 trillion won ($34.2 billion) worth of order backlogs as of end-September, which will keep them busy for 1.3 years, compared with 48.8 trillion won at the end of 2019, the analyst said.
The shipbuilders are Hyundai Heavy Industries Co., Hyundai Samho Heavy Industries Co., Hyundai Mipo Dockyard Co., Samsung Heavy Industries Co. and Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co.
The five shipbuilders' financial health is relatively robust, as their net debt-to-equity ratio was 29.8 percent at the end of the third quarter, he said. The net debt-to-equity ratio, which is used to evaluate a company's financial health, is usually considered optimal when it is under 20 percent.
The new orders by the shipbuilders have been increasing, with their orders clinched during the past two months estimated to account for 59 percent of the total grabbed in the first nine months.
According to the data provided by global market researcher Clarkson Research Service, South Korean shipbuilders have order backlogs of 19.02 million compensated gross tons (CGTs), taking up 28 percent of global order backlogs of 67.34 million CGTs at the end of October.
Chinese shipbuilders' order backlogs reached 24.31 million CGTs, or 36 percent of the total, followed by Japanese shipbuilders with 8.59 million CGTs.
Global order backlogs have been on a downward path since 80.82 million CGTs in January. (Yonhap)