Swiber seeks revival in power business

Swiber is aiming to buy out a privately-owned Australian player active in this growing segment.
Swiber is aiming to buy out a privately-owned Australian player active in this growing segment.PHOTO: REUTERS

Marine firm aims for diversification by exploring acquisition deal with Aussie entity

Beleaguered marine firm Swiber Holdings is trying to resurrect itself as a going concern by diversifying into power generation.

It said yesterday that it is aiming to buy out a privately-owned Australian player active in this growing segment.

The deal is among several being pursued by the struggling group's court-appointed judicial managers and senior management since it entered into judicial management last October.

Its acquisition target is Western Australia-based Interlink Power & Energy Holdings, which is involved in projects that supply bridging power using mobile dual-fuel turbines.

The firm has delivered and operated power projects totalling 4,000 megawatts. Its clients include General Electric, Rio Tinto, APR Energy and Repsol.

Swiber has signed a non-binding term sheet for the proposed acquisition of 100 per cent of shares in Interlink through a share swap arrangement. Mr David Ingrames, the firm's chief executive, and chief operating officer Stephen Thurstans - both Interlink founders - were previously engineers with the Royal Australian Navy.

The proposed transaction is subject to certain conditions, including the restructuring of all of Swiber's debts and liabilities, and securing new equity investors to inject up to US$200 million (S$272 million) into the Singapore-listed firm.

Swiber's court-appointed judicial managers and its senior management team led by executive chairman Raymond Goh are especially interested in Interlink's gas-fired power generation solution.

Mr Goh has separately commissioned Swiber's engineers to design a vessel capable of storing and regasifying liquefied natural gas and generating power supply.

A design completed by Swiber's team of engineers and naval architects for a floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) power plant capable of generating up to 400MW of power has obtained in-principle approval from classification society Burau Veritas (BV) Singapore.

Achieving this certification brings the FLNG plant one step closer to commercialisation.

Swiber is understood to be eyeing demand for gas-fired power in Indonesia and West Africa.

These energy-hungry emerging economies are potential demand centres for small-scale, fast-tracked land-based and floating power generation solutions.

Singapore's leading shipyard groups, Sembcorp Marine and Keppel Offshore & Marine, have also lined up partnerships and developed products targeted at the small-scale power generation market.

Swiber's judicial managers have secured an extension of the judicial management period to Oct 31 next year .

They have also until March 31 next year to table a statement of proposals before the creditors.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 02, 2017, with the headline 'Swiber seeks revival in power business'. Print Edition | Subscribe