Hanwha Ocean has defended its bid to acquire shipbuilder Austal, describing media reports suggesting that the Australian government would block the bid over security concerns as “baseless”.

“There is no foundation of the claim that the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) would reject Hanwha’s acquisition of the company,” said David Kim, executive vice president at Hanwha.

Hanwha said it was “respectful of the FIRB regulatory approval process” but is confident in its ability to obtain FIRB approval for the transaction.