South Korea's major shipbuilders, led by Hyundai Heavy Industries Co., are witnessing their earnings improve sharply as they raked in massive orders and a strong won helped jack up shipbuilding prices, industry data showed Monday.
According to the data, Hyundai Heavy, the world's largest shipyard, has bagged US$15.8 billion worth of orders so far this year, achieving 80 percent of its annual order target.
Samsung Heavy Industries Co. has clinched $12.4 billion worth of orders so far this year, equivalent to 95 percent of its annual order target of $13 billion.
Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co., another major shipbuilder, also has received orders worth some $10 billion, achieving 77 percent of its yearly order target of $13 billion.
"The shipbuilders are expected to get massive orders through next year," said Jeon Jae-chun, an analyst at Daishin Securities.
Analysts say the three shipbuilders are expected to rack up orders totaling $47 billion this year, about 50 percent more than what they had last year.
The local currency's steady rise to the U.S. dollar is also helping the local shipbuilders' earnings improve. The Korean won has climbed around 6.4 percent to the greenback over the past three months.
Usually, local shipyards set shipbuilding prices based on the Korean won.
"A strong won usually leads to a rise in shipbuilding prices, which is also helping improve their earnings," said Park Moo-hyun, an analyst at Etrade Securities.
Backed by their massive orders, the shipbuilders' share prices also have rallied over the past few months, data showed.
The combined market capitalization of the three shipyards reached 37.3 trillion won as of Friday, rising 22 percent, or 6.7 trillion won, from July 26.
Daewoo Shipbuilding saw its share price soar 22 percent over the cited period. Samsung Heavy also posted a 10.8 percent rise in its share price over the cited period. Hyundai Heavy also has risen 30 percent over the cited period.
Foreign investors have scooped up local shipbuilders. For one, foreigners bought 129 billion won worth of Samsung Heavy shares this month.