While Enron will forever remain the American archetype of corporate malfeasance, in South Korea that dubious distinction goes to Daewoo.
Following the dramatic implosion of the Daewoo corporate empire in 1999, which culminated in founder Kim Woo-Jung's 2006 imprisonment on charges of fraud and embezzlement, the shipbuilding segment of the conglomerate was spun off as a separate, state-controlled entity. Nine years later, South Korea is ready to return the world's third-largest shipbuilder to the private sector, and Asia's third-largest steelmaker is intent on offering the highest bid.
POSCO is already the leading supplier of steel plates to South Korea's bustling shipbuilding industry, and views the purchase of DSME as necessary for the company's growth. To help silence critics of the move, the company has signed a letter of intent to acquire iron ore, steel mill, and shipbuilding assets from an unidentified company in the Ukraine.
Although continued demand for new oil tankers from companies like Frontline
While I would like to see POSCO remain focused on achieving its goal of having 30% of raw materials come from mines in which the company holds a stake, POSCO's dive into a molten hot shipbuilding industry is a fascinating development for this storied steelmaker.
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Fool contributor Christopher Barker captains yachts and writes about stocks. He can be found blogging actively and acting Foolishly within the CAPS community under the username TMFSinchiruna. He owns no shares in the companies mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.