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  21st July 2008 - STAR MARITIME

Bumi Armada expanding despite declining demand

BUMI Armada Bhd is on an aggressive fleet expansion drive despite concerns of declining global demand for vessels.

The company, which is Malaysia's largest owner and operator of offshore support vessels (OSV), launched its 46th offshore support vessel – the Armada Firman 2 – last week.

Bumi Armada executive director and chief executive officer Hassan Basma said the company was targeting to have over 70 vessels by 2009.

He added that the vessels would be financed via internal funds and bank borrowings.

“We are looking to be the largest OSV operator in South East Asia by 2009,” he told reporters after the unveiling of the Armada Firman 2 at the Drydocks World Shipyard in Tuas, Singapore recently.

The 6,000 brake horse power Armada Firman 2 is equipped with dynamic positioning capabilities, allowing the vessel to remain in a fixed position with the use of propellers and thrusters rather than physical moorings or anchors.

Construction works on the Armada Firman 3 – which is due to be completed by year end – are currently ongoing at the Drydocks World Shipyard,

Hassan said both the vessels (Armada Firman 2 and Armada Firman 3) would be deployed to Angola.

He is still optimistic about acquiring more vessels despite confirming a report by Bloomberg last week that the global demand for vessels was expected to slow down in the next two years due to rising oil prices.

According to Hassan, the lower demand for vessels would not be an issue for Bumi Armada as the company was providing newer, more powerful and better-equipped vessels for charter compared with their competitors.

Apart from OSVs, Bumi Armada's fleet comprises floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessels, anchor handling tug and supply vessels and workboats and barges.

Bumi Armada serves clients in Malaysia and countries within South East Asia, the Middle East and West Africa.

Hassan said 65% of annual revenue came from operations in the domestic market while the remaining 35% were from overseas.

“Going forward we expect this ratio to reverse,” he said, adding that 25% of its business currently comprised doing fleet work associated with Petroliam Nasional Bhd.

Hassan also said Bumi Armada had plans to acquire at least one FPSO a year. The company currently has two – the Armada Perkasa and Armada Perdana.


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