Austal taps Aboitiz unit to expand shipyard in Cebu

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AUSTAL Philippines Pty Ltd. has tapped Aboitiz Construction, Inc. to expand its facilities in Balamban, Cebu. — ABOITIZ CONSTRUCTION

THE CONSTRUCTION arm of Aboitiz Equity Ventures, Inc. (AEV) has secured the design and construction contract for the expansion of Australian shipbuilder Austal Philippines Pty Ltd.’s facilities in Cebu.

In a statement issued Monday, Aboitiz Construction, Inc. (ACI) said the deal will include civil and building works, electrical, and pre-fabrication of steel materials for Austal Philippines’ shipyard in Balamban, Cebu. It will tap a team of 670 people to complete the work by February 2019.

Austal Philippines has already engaged ACI for its previous projects. For instance, the shipyard that Austal Philippines bought in 2012 was previously built by ACI.

The company also contracted ACI to refurbish its current shipyard.

“Once again, a repeat client has placed its trust in Aboitiz Construction. As a reliable contractor that upholds integrity, we will not fail them,” ACI President and Chief Operating Officer Alberto A. Ignacio, Jr. said in a statement.

For its part, Austal Philippines said the expansion will more than double its current capacity.

“This expansion will more than double the capability of the shipyard in terms of output and size of vessels it can manufacture. It will also generate hundreds of additional employment,” ACI quoted Austal Philippines Project Manager Mitch Barnett as saying.

Established in 2012, Austal Philippines is an Australian shipbuilder that has set up its local base in Balamban, Cebu. The company draws on the global resources of the Austal Group for major commercial contracts for vehicle-passenger ferries and offshore support vessels, according to its website.

“With the rapid growth of Austal Philippines reputation and confidence from clients around the world, it is expected that the Philippines will become Austal’s center of excellence for commercial vessel manufacturing,” Mr. Barnett said.

ACI is part of AEV, which also has core interests in power, infrastructure, financial services, food manufacturing, real estate, and portfolio investments.

Last year, the company said it was in negotiations with Chinese firms Shangdong Electric Power Construction Corp. III and Dongfang Electric Company to increase its footprint overseas.

AEV booked P4.8 billion in consolidated net income during the first quarter of 2018, 3% higher year on year amid lower one-off lesses representing net unrealized foreign exchange losses.

Shares in AEV were unchanged at P64 apiece at the Philippine Stock Exchange on Monday. — Arra B. Francia