By Ben Otto
Shares in Sembcorp Industries Ltd. (U96.SG) and its drilling rigs builder unit jumped after Singapore's state investment firm Temasek Holdings Pte. Ltd. announced a bid to acquire a controlling stake in local conglomerate Keppel Corp. (BN4.SG).
Market analysts said Temasek's potential controlling stake in Keppel could pave the way for a merger of Singapore's two largest shipyards -- Keppel Offshore & Marine Ltd. and Sembcorp Marine Ltd. (S51.SG). Temasek owns about 50% of Sembcorp Industries, Sembcorp Marine's parent.
A larger stake in Keppel would give Temasek more flexibility to steer the consolidation of Singapore's offshore-and-marine industry, at a time when Chinese and South Korean shipyards are doing the same, Singapore-based brokerage KGI Securities said in a research note.
Temasek earlier Monday announced a US$3 billion bid to buy an additional 30.55% stake in Keppel, taking its total holding in the property-to-marine conglomerate to 51%.
Sembcorp shares gained 11%, while Sembcorp Marine was up 13%. Trading in Keppel shares was halted before the announcement.
Write to Ben Otto at email@example.com