Civmec to build $85m naval shipyard in Australia

An artist's impression of the planned facility, which will provide ship construction and maintenance close to Fleet Base West - the home of Australia's submarine force and half its naval surface fleet.
An artist's impression of the planned facility, which will provide ship construction and maintenance close to Fleet Base West - the home of Australia's submarine force and half its naval surface fleet.PHOTO: CIVMEC

Company aims to gain from country's plan to upgrade its defence capabilities

Singapore-listed Australian engineering firm Civmec will invest A$80 million (S$85 million) to build a naval shipyard near Perth, Western Australia.

The facility will provide ship construction and maintenance close to Fleet Base West - the home of Australia's submarine force and half its naval surface fleet.

It will be the only yard with this capacity in Australia, said Civmec in a filing with the Singapore Exchange yesterday.

It expects to spend about A$80 million to develop the entire 70,000 sq m site, which adjoins the group's existing yard at the Australian Marine Complex in Henderson.

It is expected to provide additional jobs for up to 1,000 workers, and up to 100 additional apprenticeships and graduates once fully operational, said Civmec.

Chief executive Patrick Tallon said yesterday: "(This)... is all about strategically positioning the company to participate in the upcoming naval acquisition programme, the largest of its kind in Australian history, and in turn will play a major role in the company's long-term future.

"We feel a standalone facility, operated by Forgacs Marine and Defence, is required to ensure there is absolutely no adverse effect to our present... clients in other sectors."

Design and planning have started, and there will be more focus on engineering and geotechnical analysis in the new year, said the firm.

It plans to fund the proposed new yard with internal cash resources and borrowings.

Civmec said it is "positioning itself for participation in Australia's A$89 billion naval ship and submarine upgrading programme".

This programme is also part of the country's projected A$195 billion overall defence investment in the decade ahead.

WA Premier Colin Barnett said in a statement: "The significant capital investment by Civmec to develop these facilities is an example of the confidence local industry has in Western Australia's future."

Mr Tallon said "this diversification is a natural extension of our core capabilities".

He added that the new shipbuilding and maintenance yard will be a significant piece of industrial infrastructure. It will also serve as a new resource for the Australian maritime scene.

Civmec shares closed six cents up at 47 cents yesterday.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 17, 2016, with the headline 'Civmec to build $85m naval shipyard in Australia'. Print Edition | Subscribe