S.Korea's major shipbuilders mull joint bid for GTT -sources

SEOUL Sun Jan 8, 2012 9:37pm EST

SEOUL Jan 9 (Reuters) - Hyundai Heavy Industries , Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering and Samsung Heavy Industries are mulling a joint bid for French engineering company GTT (Gaztransport & Technigaz) valued at 1 billion euros ($1.27 billion), sources said on Monday.

The sources with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters that the Korean shipbuilders were in discussions to team up to bid for the French firm, which specialises in cargo containment systems for high-end LNG carriers and is likely to attract offers from China, South Korea's shipbuilding industry rival.

GTT's three shareholders -- GDF Suez, the world's biggest utility by market value, French oil company Total and U.S. private equity fund Hellman & Friedman -- are planning to sell their stakes.

"Should a Chinese firm take over the company, it would be a challenge in the LNG ship market, where Korean players have the upper hand currently," one source said

Spokespeople at Hyundai, Daewoo and Samsung declined to comment. ($1 = 0.7865 euros) (Reporting by Ju-min Park; Editing by Jonathan Hopfner)

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