IHC Merwede’s Southeast Asia expansion plans start rolling

Written by Nick Blenkey

denis welch file photo“IHC Merwede,” says Denis Welch, the company’s Regional CEO for Southeast Asia, “is not just a shipbuilder per se, but also an aggregation of engineering and manufacturing companies, which combines to provide unique and value-added solutions to its customers.”

Speculation is growing that the “aggregation” could soon include the shipyards now owned by Drydocks World Southeast Asia, where Mr. Welch was CEO until October 2010.

IHC Merwede hired Mr. Welch to be its Regional CEO back in November 2011. Now, says a release issued today, it aims to secure building capacity to complement its shipyards in The Netherlands and add to the considerable marine engineering capability already operating under the company’s umbrella.

That can only fuel speculation that IHC Merwede will be a potential buyer should Drydocks World sell off its Southeast Asia business as part of its planned reorganization. A sell-off the Singapore and Indonesian yards is likely as much of the company’s $2.2 billion burden results, say observers, from a decison to overborrow to acquire the yards back in 2006. Meantime, the reorganization awaits the decision of a Dubai tribunal on whether Drydocks World can gain protection from creditors under the emirate’s provisions for insolvency, as set out in Decree 57 by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

IHC Merwede has opened a new office in the PSA Building, 460 Alexander Road, Singapore, to be the corporate headquarters for IHC Offshore & Marine’s Southeast Asia businesses.

At its grand opening party, IHC Merwede’s President Govert Hamers declared, “With Denis Welch’s appointment in place and the new office now established, we are ready to accelerate our growth in Asia. Having our South East Asia corporate headquarters in Singapore is a big part of our global strategy.

“We are happy to increase our commitment to Asia. It is a major international maritime oil and gas hub and has the necessary infrastructure in place. As our Asian customers come to benefit from our customized and technological solutions, plans are already in place to expand the company in the region.”

Wait for the other shoe to drop.

April 12, 2012

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