According to Article 10(3) of the TBR, it was examined whether other factors, in addition to the Korean subsidies, have, either individually or in combination, adversely affected the Community industry.
3.2.1 Overall analysis
In the first report it was found that commercial vessels produced in Korea and those produced in the Community are destined for the same use and are in direct competition with each other, with the price and delivery dates being some of the main competitive factors.
As shown above, during the first investigation period the Korean shipyards increased their market share (excluding cruise ships) from 30.4% in 1997 to 39.6% in the period January-November 2000. This coincided with the injury, the adverse trade effects and the serious prejudice suffered by the Community industry in particular in terms of sales price reductions, undercutting and of a deteriorating profitability. Moreover, the drop in Korean prices also coincided with the financial crisis in Korea and can be partly explained by the effort made by Korean shipbuilders to obtain foreign currency (especially by the shipyards under restructuring). In its Fourth Report to the Council the Commission actually concluded that: "the Commission maintains its view that significant over-capacities in South Korean shipbuilding, combined with an ongoing need to generate new orders in order to assure sufficient cash flow, prevent a recovery of prices and the market in general"7.
This significant increase in market shares gave Korean shipyards the opportunity to become leaders in most of the sectors. Indeed, even though in 2001, for the reasons explained above, they decreased their overall sales volumes and market shares (30.8%), they were able to maintain a strong position in certain sectors, such as the product and chemical tankers sector, and the container ships sector. In these sectors, the Kerean shipyards increased their market share in the period 1997/2001 respectively by 11 and 18 percentage points while the Community shipyards market share decreased in the same period (respectively 15 and 4 percentage points). In addition, in 2001, the Korean shipyards captured almost 80% of the LNG market, a market that became significant only in the years 2000 and 2001.
When faced with low-priced Korean offers to potential customers, the Community industry had the possibility of eithet maintaining its prices with a risk of losing market share and closing down individual shipyards, or following the low prices of subsidised Korean yards with negative consequences on profitability. Indeed, as from 1998, in some sectors the Community industry lowered its sales prices. This had a detrimental impact on its profitability, which was already negative in 1997. This illustrates the important impact of the price behaviour by subsidised Korean shipyards.
With regard to serious prejudice, Article 6.3(c) of the ASCM requires a demonstration that the effect of the subsidy is the cause of the significant price undercutting, price depression and lost sales established. In this respect, the analysis above made reference to concrete examples involving the subsidised Korean yards, and it is more than likely that in the absence of the subsidies the yards in question would have been obliged to raise their prices substantially.
In particular, the Commission's Reports to the Council demonstrate that the prices offered by the subsidised yards were at very low levels: this was due to the fact that debt servicing costs had been considerably diminished following the massive granting of subsidies through debt restructuring.
In other words, had debt restructuring not taken place, these yards would have been obliged to sell at dramatically higher prices to be able to service debts. Thus, the granting of the subsidies has had a direct effect on the prices of these yards. This is even more so for yards which were technically bankrupt and only survived because of the subsidies; in view of the fact that in the absence of debt restructuring it is certain that Daewoo, Halla and Daedong would have been liquidated, it is evident that the ability to offer prices at below a minimum debt servicing level (up to 39%) is entirely due to the subsidies received.
In view of the fact that the world market for LNGs exploded at the end of the first investigation period and during the current investigation period, a through additional investigation into the causal link between the injury suffered by the Community industry and the Korean subsidies has been carried out.
The table and graph below highlight the significant change in the world market for LNGs since 1992.
- Evolution of new orders for LNGs, based on CGT, per region
|Source: Lloyd's Register of Shipping
To be noted that a standard LNG vessel has a capacity of around 138.000 m3, which in terms of CGT represets around 70.000.
Development of the LNG market
As can be seen from the above graph, the market in 1992 and 1993 was dominated by the Community and Japanese shipyards. Thereafter, in the period 1994 to 1999, the market for LNGs became relatively low in terms of new orders. There was however a peak of new ordering during the years 1996 and 1997, when the Korean producers secured for the first time a significant volume of new orders, consisting of a series of 12 vessels. During these two years, they reached a market share of respectively 75% and 87%. It is important to mention that these orders were placed by the Korean Gas Corporation (KOGAS) and that the contracts have been equally distributed amongst 4 Korean shipyards, each getting orders for three vessels. For two of these shipyards, this was the first time they got an order for the building of an LNG, while the two other ones already built LNGs in the preceding years, also on behalf of KOGAS.
In the years 2000 and 2001, the market for LNGs exploded, as already explained above, and the Koreans won their first LNG new building contracts from foreign buyers. Indeed there were exceptionally successful in securing new orders, and obtained orders for 9 vessels in 2000 and 18 in 2001.
The evolution of prices for LNGs in the last years is showed in the table below8:
FIGURE 4-3: CHANGES IN CONTAINER'GAS CARRIER PRICES
From the graph above, it can be seen that the prices were at their high level during the year 1997, which corresponds to the year during which the Korean shipyards secured the KOGAS vessels, and were almost the only ones present on the market. Thereafter, prices started to consistently decrease. This decrease in prices was especially market during the year 1999, when, for the first time, prices below 200 MUSD for a standard LNG vessel of a capacity of 138.000 m3 were quoted on the market. The prices reached their lowest level at the end of 1999 and beginning of 2000. This coincided with the first Daewoo orders from non Korean buyers. Since then, prices slightly recovered or stabilised, but, as evidenced in the graph below9. Korean producers remain the leaders both in volume and prices during the years 2000 and 2001,
FIGURE D: NEWBUILDING PRICE DEVELOPMENTS
-LNG CARRIER (120 000 to 140 000 m3) -
It should further be noted that Daewoo, one of the main beneficiaries of the specific actionable subsidies, was a significant actor in the Korean development in the LNG sector. Indeed, they were the first Company quoting prices below 150 MUSD, and captured more than half the Korean orders during the years 2000 (around 2/3 of the overall Korean orders) and 2001 (around 1/2).
It should also be noted that two other Korean shipyards which did not receive domestic restructuring subsidies but only export subsidies (Hyundai and Samsung) were able to secure a number of LNG orders.
It was demonstrated above that Korea managed to capture a very significant market share in 2000 and 2001, at a time the market volume steeply increased. It was further explained under the heading 3.2.1 that, had debt restructuring not taken place, the Korean yards would have been obliged to sell at dramatically higher prices to be able to service debts. Thus. the glanting of the subsidies has had a direct effect on the prices of these yards. This is even more so for yards which were technically bankrupt and only survived because of the subsidies; in view of the fact that in the absence of debt restructuring it is certain that Daewoo would have been liquidated10, it is evident that the ability to offer prices at below a minimum debt servicing level (up to 39%) is entirely due to the subsidies received. Finally, its was mentioned that Daewoo was the most active Korean shipyard in the LNG sector. Table 11 of the present report details lost onders by the Community shipyards. It was argued that if the Community shipyards could not re-access the market, this was more specifically due to the fact that their capacity was fully utilised for the production of cruise ships and that they were therefore not in a position to deliver the LNG carriers as fast as the Koreans could. Likewise, it was claimed that the Community shipyards are currently trying to regain their position on the LNG market,a market that they allegedly left in order to focus on the more lucrative cruise ship business.
It is true that the delivery date of LNG vessels is
an important criterion in the decision process of choosing a supplier. Indeed,
LNGs are usually part of an overall gas terminal project, and the vessels
need to be delivered upon completion of the site. However, the price and the ability
to build a technologically reliable vessel remain equally important criteria.
The Commission's Fifth Report on the situation in world shipbuilding states in this respect : "Market analysis suggests that Korean yards made inroads in this area due to very low offer prices. Their ability, to supply a large number of vessels at an early delivery date may have been important in getting a large amount of orders also."11
It should be stressed that if indeed the Koreans have sometimes the capacity to deliver LNGs faster than the Community shipyards, this is partially based on a capacity developed by certain companies (i.e. Daewoo) that would no longer exist in their current form in the absence of debt restructuring.
As to the fact that the Community shipyards voluntarily left the LNGs market, it has been sufficiently demonstrated, namely in the table 12, that development of the market during the years 1993 to 1999 in terms of demand did not justify any presence of the Community shipyards during this period. It was therefore a justified economie decision to focus on other sectors were the demand was stronger.
7 COM(2001)-219 final
of 3 May 2001
8 Taken from the OECD report on "Recent newbuilding price development", C/WP6(2002)6, 25.03.200, p 7
9 Taken from the OECD report on "Recent newbuilding price development". C/WP6(2002)6, 25.03.200, p 17
10 See description
of corporate restructuring under B.2.2 above.
11 Fifth report from
the Commission to the Council on the situation in world shipbuilding.COM/2002/0205
final of 30.04.2002