Philippines open to China takeover of shipyard

MANILA • The Philippines said it isn’t closing its doors to Chinese investors interested in Hanjin Heavy Industries Construction Co Ltd’s local shipbuilding facility, despite security concerns raised by the possibility of Chinese firms taking over the shipyard.

The government is “open to all proposals” for investment in Hanjin’s facility, Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana told Bloomberg News yesterday.

But the South-East Asian country will consider national security as the shipyard is located near the disputed South China Sea, parts of which are claimed by both the Philippines and China, he said.

“There are so many things riding on the rehabilitation of Hanjin that must be taken into consideration — the investors’ money, the workers and the economic benefit of the shipyard,” Lorenzana said.

Philippine Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez also said his department hasn’t barred investment from Chinese or other foreign citizens interested in Hanjin’s facility.

Japan’s Nikkei Asian Review reported yesterday that the Philippines plans to exclude Chinese bidders from buying the country’s largest shipyard, citing comments from an unnamed trade official.

Eight companies from the US, Japan, South Korea and the Netherlands are keen on investing in the shipyard after Hanjin filed for debt restructuring and was subsequently put under receivership in January, Lopez said earlier this month. — Bloomberg