Hyundai Heavy 1st-quarter net profit hits record
Hyundai Heavy Industries, the world's biggest shipbuilder, said first quarter net profit rose 86 percent to a record on high margins in shipbuilding and industrial plants. Hyundai Heavy Industries earned 926.2 billion won ($835.7 million) in the three months ended March 31, the company said in a regulatory filing Thursday. It posted net profit of 498.3 billion won a year earlier.
Company spokeswoman Kim Mi-ri said the profit figure was an all-time high for Hyundai Heavy on a quarterly basis. Sales, however, fell 3.4 percent to 5.31 trillion won from 5.49 trillion won a year earlier, the company said.
The Ulsan, South Korea-based company thrived in recent years as booming international trade and China's rapid economic development spurred demand for vessels. The global economic slump, however, has hit demand for new ships.
Kim said, however, that the company benefited in the first quarter as it delivered ships that were ordered two years ago when prices were high.
She also said its industrial plant business contributed to profitability as did its construction equipment division, which turned to the black from a loss the year before.
Hyundai Heavy, established in 1972, rose to become the world's largest shipbuilder after just 13 years. South Korean companies dominate the industry.
Besides shipbuilding, Hyundai Heavy also designs and builds offshore facilities such as oil production platforms and pipelines. It also manufactures power facilities, construction equipment and industrial robots, among other products.
Kim said the company had taken in new orders in all its businesses totaling $4.96 billion in the first quarter, more than doubling from the same period last year. She said the company during the first quarter achieved 28 percent of its new order target for 2010 of $17.7 billion.
Shares in Hyundai Heavy, which released earnings results during afternoon trading, rose 0.8 percent to close at 258,500 won. The shares fell 13 percent last year.