Hyundai Heavy Industries, the world's biggest shipbuilder, said its third-quarter net profit more than doubled amid strong performance by affiliates and higher vessel prices.
Hyundai Heavy Industries earned 434.7 billion won ($479 million) in the three months ended Sep-tember 30, the company said in a regulatory filing.
It posted net profit of 210.7 billion won in the same quarter a year earlier.
It was the ninth straight quarterly profit for the Ulsan, South Korea, company, where earnings have soared amid demand for ships to handle global trade boosted by China's surging economy.
Sales during the quarter rose 19 per cent to 3.73 trillion won ($4.12 billion; 2.81 billion euros) from 3.14 trillion won a year ago.
Hyundai Heavy's result was bolstered by gains from its stakes in affiliates shipbuilder Hyundai Samho Heavy Industries and service station operator Hyundai Oilbank, as well as by investment returns, said Hyundai Heavy spokeswoman Kim Mi-ri.
The company's earnings also reflected ship orders received in late 2004, Kim said, primarily for large container ships and LNG, or liquefied natural gas, carriers that fetched higher prices than before. Orders usually affect earnings two to three years after they are received.
As of the end of September, Hyundai Heavy had orders for 327 ships valued at $34.6 billion (23.6 billion euros), the equivalent of three-and-a-half years of work, Kim said. Container ships, oil tankers, LNG carriers and liquid petroleum gas, or LPG, carriers accounted for 80 per cent of the company's ship order backlog, she said.
Shares in Hyundai Heavy have more than tripled this year. The stock fell Thursday, however, declining 3.6 per cent to 509,000 won ($561; 383 euros) amid a 3.1 per cent sell-off in the broader South Korean stock market.
Hyundai Heavy, established in 1972, rose to become the world's largest shipbuilder in just three decades. The company also designs and builds offshore facilities such as oil rigs and pipelines.
It manufactures marine terminals, power facilities, desalination plants, construction equipment and industrial robots.
Hyundai Heavy, established in 1972, rose to become the world's largest shipbuilder in just three decades. ( Gulf )