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Single bidder for Korean shipbuilder STX French unit

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[SEOUL] A South Korean court handling the bankruptcy case of STX Offshore and Shipbuilding Co, said Tuesday that only a single bidder had submitted a binding proposal to buy the shipyard's profitable French unit.

[SEOUL] A South Korean court handling the bankruptcy case of STX Offshore and Shipbuilding Co, said Tuesday that only a single bidder had submitted a binding proposal to buy the shipyard's profitable French unit.

Italian shipbuilding giant Fincantieri SpA, Netherlands-based Damen Shipyards Group and French state-controlled naval shipbuilder DCNS had initially expressed interest in acquiring STX France, which specialises in building cruise ships.

"But only one bidder has met the deadline for making a binding offer," judge Choi Ung Young, who acts as a spokesman for the court in Seoul, told AFP.

He declined to identify who the bidder was, but said the proposal was being studied by Samil PricewaterhouseCoopers, which is handling the proposed sale.

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An STX Offshore spokesman said the court would announce whether the proposal had been accepted on January 3.

"If the offered price is too low, the proposal would be turned down and a fresh round of bidding would open", the spokesman said.

In 2008, STX bought a two-thirds stake in a huge naval shipyard in the western French port of Saint-Nazaire, later named STX France.

It is currently the company's only profitable unit.

The French state holds the remaining share and is extremely concerned about the future of the shipyard, which is a big local employer with a healthy order book for large cruise liners.

STX Offshore's creditors last month narrowly approved a debt restructuring plan, avoiding the imminent liquidation of what was once South Korea's fourth largest shipbuilder.

AFP

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