INTERVIEW: JFE Exec Says Shipbuilding Sector Realignment Possible

Economy

Tokyo, June 12 (Jiji Press)--An executive of major Japanese steelmaking and engineering group JFE Holdings Inc. <5411> has suggested that a shipbuilding sector realignment involving Japan Marine United Corp., a JFE affiliate, could happen.

"A major change in the business environment" surrounding the shipbuilding industry could trigger realignment moves, JFE Executive Vice President Masashi Terahata said in an interview with Jiji Press.

JFE needs to be prepared for possible realignment moves so that it can take action soon if something happens, he said, noting that other companies may approach the group with an integration offer. "We would miss a chance if we are unprepared," Terahata said.

"While South Korea and China are protecting their shipbuilding industries as part of their national policies, a big challenge for Japanese shipbuilders is how they should survive" the tough business environment, Terahata said.

Ships have been in excess supply globally, he said, adding, "A possible global economic slowdown stemming from ongoing U.S.-China trade friction may lead to a fall in trade volumes."

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press