Japanese yard merger postponed

Tokyo: JFE Holdings Inc. and IHI Corp. will postpone a merger of shipbuilding operations until after autumn.

The companies have decided to delay the merger, which was to take place this month, because of a decline in demand for ships. In mid-January 2008 it was announced that IHI Corp, Japan’s third-biggest heavy-machinery maker, was in talks with JFE Holdings, the nation’s second-biggest steelmaker, to create the biggest Japanese shipbuilder to compete against Asian rivals. The two units could be merged as early as this year creating a company with sales of ¥345bn. IHI Marine United would be merged into Universal Shipbuilding, which JFE is currently seeking to raise its stake in from 50% to 80%, buying out part of Hitachi Zosen’s 50% share.

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