Asry, one of the region’s leading shipyards, expects revenues to rise 13.6 per cent this year with business having looked up in the first half and prospects for the second half appearing positive.
Chief executive Chris Potter has projected revenues of $200 million for 2013 against $176 million registered last year. “For the first half of this year, we have seen a 25 per cent increase in revenues over the same period last year,” Potter said. “There appears to be some movement; things are improving which has led to greater volume of business as compared to last year,” he said.
As many as 140 vessels were repaired by the yard in the first half of this year.
The company, which has a 35-40 per cent share of the GCC market, has been working at full capacity over the last few months, even as regional competitors had unused capacity.
“Everybody has been fully employed over the last six months. We have increased manpower but through our contractors,” Potter said. Since December last year, about 300 more people were indirectly employed by Asry. The yard currently has 1,800 personnel on its payroll and another 3,500 people are employed by its contractors. Asry has also seen keen interest in its newest product offering – power barges.
“Power barges are in demand for their short construction cycles, flexibility in deployment and minimal land requirements. The capital costs of constructing and operating power barges are very competitive with their land-based equivalents,” said Potter. The floating power plants will be built at the newly expanded fabrication facility.
“We are still waiting to secure the first order for them. We feel we are very close to clinching a deal,” he said. The company expects to receive more orders by the fourth quarter of this year.
Asry has completed commercial registration of its Saudi division which will be operational in the next two to three months. It will be based in Dammam with an office in Al Khobar.
“There is a very large industrial market there which we will be looking at. Petrochemicals, marine work, naval work are the key industries. We see huge potential there and over the next two-three years and expect it to be quite a good revenue earner,” the chief executive said.
Under the five-year strategy, the company is consolidating its facilities having just finished the first phase of expansion including the new quay wall. The next phase of expansion depends on how the market improves and will likely happen after two or three years, Potter said. The main component of the next phase is the new floating dock.
Referring to the Stolt Valor, which was dismantled by the yard last year, Potter said the project was a major achievement for Asry, which had not worked on a ship of that size before, and it broke new ground for the company.
“However, it is not something that we look on as mainstream work, although it is something that we are very capable of doing. If similar vessels or opportunities come along, we will certainly offer our services.”