Apr 09, 2009

Jakarta player plans debut

Samudera is on the lookout for viable projects to pump its move.

Indonesia's Samudera Group is planning a major thrust into the offshore market.

The company, which is better known for its container and tanker activities, says it will make the move based on securing offshore contracts. "We are not looking at any speculative investments," said Dhrubajyoti Das, Samudera's executive director in Singapore.

He adds that Samudera is looking at several projects in Indonesia, where the underlying demand for offshore vessels remains strong. He does not identify specific projects.

Das adds that vessel acquisitions will be based on the needs of each project. "Once we get a contract, we will look at its requirements and then source the ships. This way we can ensure long-term employment for whatever we invest in," he said.

Samudera already has a minor stake in the sector, with a small anchor-handling tug on charter to French oil major Total. The vessel is based in Indonesian waters.

"Our investment in the offshore market has been small but successful, so it is time to step up our involvement," said Das.

The investment will be handled by Samudera's Jakarta office, which looks after its industrial-shipping division. The outpost owns and operates a fleet of nine chemical tankers, two products tankers and a handful of coal barges.

The tankers are usually employed on charters to state-owned oil company Pertamina. Das says the company has no plans at present to invest in any more tankers.

Jakarta-listed Samudera also has a big liner arm, Samudera Shipping Lines, which is listed and run out of Singapore.

By Jonathan Boonzaier Singapore