Hyundai Heavy Industries Co. and other major shipyards have seen their stock prices continue to build up gains hitting yearly highs on expectations that the shipbuilding sector is on a recovery track, analysts said Sunday.
Hyundai Heavy closed at 179,500 won ($160) on the Seoul bourse on Friday, marking a yearly high, with its smaller rival Samsung Heavy Industries Co. finishing at 12,500 won, also hitting a 52-week high. The rise comes on expectations of rising oil prices and overall trade spurring demand for new ships.
Hyundai Heavy has risen some 25 percent so far this year, and Samsung Heavy enjoyed a 23-percent rise. Hyundai Mipo Dockyard Co., an affiliate of Hyundai Heavy, saw its share prices surge 44 percent this year.
Analysts said a recovery in the shipbuilding segment is naturally fueling shipbuilders' stocks.
"In particular, demand for oil tankers has been on the rise," said Park Moo-hyun, an analyst at Hana Investment & Securities.
Hyundai Heavy's stellar performance is also backed by the hive-offs of its key business units.
Last month, Hyundai Heavy was split into four independent entities -- shipbuilding, electronics, construction equipment and robotics -- to raise their competitiveness in the respective sectors.
Analysts said the spin-off may help improve its governance, and each business will be able to strengthen its own competitiveness as well.
"Hyundai Heavy's spin-off will also help improve the financial status of the group as a whole," said Choi Kwang-shik, an analyst at Hi Investment & Securities.
In addition, South Korea's major shipyards saw their earnings improve in the first quarter as their efforts to cut costs and realign their business portfolios paid off.
Hyundai Heavy said earlier its first-quarter earnings almost doubled from a year earlier to 462 billion won on cost-cutting efforts and the delivery of high-priced ships.
Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co., a troubled shipbuilder here, also swung to the black in the first quarter of the year from a year earlier, largely thanks to cost-cutting measures.
Samsung Heavy Industries Co. joined the pack by reporting a net profit in the January-March period by posting 58.7 billion won in the black, up 15.9 percent from a year earlier.
Local shipyards have suffered losses for the past few years amid a plunge in demand for new vessels and a delay in the construction of offshore facilities. (Yonhap)