x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Surge in boat orders lifts ADSB

Abu Dhabi Ship Building recorded a 38 per cent rise in revenues last year to Dh1.16bn (US$316.1m) as it booked a surge in orders from the Government to protect coastal waters and offshore installations.

Abu Dhabi Ship Building provides repair services for commercial craft in Musaffah.
Abu Dhabi Ship Building provides repair services for commercial craft in Musaffah.

Abu Dhabi Ship Building (ADSB) recorded a 38 per cent rise in revenues last year to Dh1.16 billion (US$316.1 million) as it booked a surge in orders from the Government to protect coastal waters and offshore installations. The recently established Critical National Infrastructure Authority (CNIA) has become ADSB's second-biggest customer after the UAE Navy, following a Dh460m contract to build a fleet of 34 fast interceptor vessels signed last February.

The boats are made of lightweight composite materials and will "interdict potential threats in the UAE's maritime zone", CNIA has said. "The CNIA has taken a very prime position with us because they have a number of things under cognisance, including all of Abu Dhabi's offshore industrial activity," said Bill Saltzer, the chief executive of ADSB. "We are working with them and trying to develop additional projects. They definitely have further requirements."

The security agency is also a major client for repair work at ADSB's Musaffah facilities after it assumed control of the fleets of the Abu Dhabi squadron of the UAE Coast Guard and the Abu Dhabi Marine Police. The work helped ADSB book an 11 per cent gain in net profits to Dh114.4m, while its total assets climbed by 29 per cent to Dh2.2bn. The positive results led ADSB directors to approve a 10 per cent cash dividend to shareholders.

ADSB's largest project to date is its Baynunah corvette programme, in which it will deliver six 72-metre warships to the UAE Navy at a cost of more than $1bn. The first corvette, which was built for ADSB by CMN, a French shipbuilder, is in builder's trials, while the first locally built corvette from ADSB will take to the water this summer and spend several months in sea tests. According to published reports, its specifications include speeds as fast as 30 knots, a range of 2,400 nautical miles, cruising speeds of 15 knots and an endurance of about two weeks.

It will be the only ship of its size to have a dedicated hangar for helicopters and will be used for coastal surveillance and patrols, mine detection and defence against air and surface attacks. ADSB was set up in 1995 with the assistance of Newport News Shipbuilding of the US, and builds aluminium, steel and composite vessels. It is 10 per cent owned by the Government, 40 per cent by Mubadala Development, an investment arm of the Government, with the remaining 50 per cent of shares trading on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange.

Despite the surge in UAE business, ADSB remains committed to expansion plans throughout the region, Mr Saltzer said, and would market itself at the Doha International Maritime Defence Exhibition and Conference next month. "Last year was our best performance yet and we hope that it is going to continue to grow by doing additional business with GCC countries," Mr Saltzer said. ADSB has relied on foreign partnerships to realise much of its rapid growth plans. In addition to its alliance with CMN for the corvette project, it has established a partnership with the Turkish shipbuilder Yonca-Onuk to complete its fast-interceptor craft contract for CNIA.

The company has also created a joint venture with BVT Surface Fleet of the UK to service the region's navies. igale@thenational.ae