South Korean shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries Co., informed that it has won a US$407 million order, to build four container ships for the European firm Zodiac Group Monaco by July 2020, the shipbuilder said in an official statement on Thursday.
The order comes as HHI, which is the world's largest shipbuilder by sales, is shedding its efforts to combat dwindling orders. Earlier in April, the company revealed plans to carry out a voluntary retirement program, offered to provide up to 20 months' salary to those who apply for the program by April 29.
This measure came in addition to a rotational paid leave scheme that the South Korean giant implemented in the fourth quarter of 2017, to tackle idle workforce. HHI asked about 600 employees to leave for five weeks, from 11 September to 22 October, during which they would be paid 70% of their salaries. Also, HHI had earlier asked 5,000 workers to voluntarily take unpaid leave, claiming financial shortage.
Revealing plans for 2018, HHI said it was targeting new orders of USD 13.2 billion worth, up 76% from last year's USD 7.5 billion. The company has not won any offshore plant orders in the last two years.
The South Korean shipbuilding industry is hit by an oversupply of vessels combined with decrease in new orders in the last years, as a result from global economic downturn in 2008 and Chinese competition.
Yonhap news agency has earlier reported that, in 2015 alone, the country's top three shipyards, Hyundai Heavy Industries, Samsung Heavy Industries and Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering, suffered a combined operating loss of 8.5 trillion won.