Hyundai Heavy Industries Co. reports all-time high profit amid record sales

Hyundai Heavy Industries Co., the world's largest shipbuilder, said Tuesday that second-quarter net profit rose 57 percent from the same period last year to an all-time high amid record sales.

Hyundai Heavy earned 655.20 billion won (US$649.50 million) in the three months ended June 30, the company said in a regulatory filing. Hyundai Heavy posted net profit of 417.50 billion won a year earlier.

Sales during the quarter rose 22 percent to 4.71 trillion won (US$4.67 billion) from 3.88 trillion won a year earlier.

Hyundai Heavy spokeswoman Kim Mi-ri said the profit and sales figures were both records for any quarter.

She said the bottom line was bolstered by gains from investments in shipbuilder Hyundai Samho Heavy Industries Co., an affiliate, and refiner and gasoline station operator Hyundai Oilbank Co. as well as interest income and strong performance in Hyundai Heavy's shipbuilding division.

Ulsan, South Korea-based Hyundai Heavy Industries, established in 1972, rose to become the world's largest shipbuilder in just three decades. South Korean companies dominate the industry.

Hyundai Heavy has reported strong earnings in recent years as booming international trade _ especially involving fast-growing China - has led to rising demand for ships to transport goods and natural resources.

Shipbuilding accounts for about 50 percent of Hyundai Heavy's business. The company also designs and builds offshore facilities such as oil rigs and pipelines. It also manufactures marine terminals, power facilities, desalination plants, construction equipment and industrial robots.

Hyundai Heavy delivered 25 ships during the quarter valued at a total US$2.6 billion, Kim said.

The company delivered 12 container ships, seven liquid petroleum gas, or LPG, carriers, two liquid natural gas, or LNG, carriers, two VLCC, or very large crude oil carriers and two petrochemical product carriers, Kim said.

Hyundai Heavy received orders for 54 ships during the second quarter valued at US$6.41 billion, Kim said. As of June 30, it had an order backlog of 380 ships valued at US$42.5 billion.

For the first six months of 2008, Hyundai Heavy's ship orders rose 65 percent from the same period last year to US$12.25 billion, Kim said.

Shares in Hyundai Heavy fell 1.1 percent to close Tuesday at 329,000 won (US$324). The company released results after the market closed. Its share price has fallen 26 percent so far this year after more than tripling last year.

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