To venture into offshore platform construction for ONGC

Public sector Cochin Shipyard Ltd. (CSL) will go in for an initial public offering (IPO) this year-end or early next year to raise at least half the money required for its Rs.1,500-crore expansion plan.

Details of the shares to be sold to the public will be decided after the technical feasibility study, likely to be completed by November.

A major portion of funds raised through the IPO will be utilised for constructing a new dry dock (80 x100 metre) for rigs requiring underwater repairs.

Disinvestment of the yard was earlier put on the backburner by the Shipping Ministry owing to the delay in firming up its expansion plans.

India has only one dry dock for repair of jack-up rigs, with more than 80 per cent of the rigs being taken to Singapore or the Middle East for repairs.

“The yard has identified offshore repairs and fabrication and a dedicated facility for ship repair for its near- and medium-term growth primarily to woo back its international clients for offshore support vessels,” said Chairman and Managing Director Commodore K. Subramaniam.

CSL has already been qualified by Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) for fabrication of offshore structures and platforms.

“The fabrication strength of the company will help it establish itself in the segment. The investment of ONGC alone in the offshore business over the next five years is estimated to be $13,500 million. If CSL is able to garner even a minor portion of this, it would be a major thrust for the yard. We hope to set up a permanent greenfield facility in co-operation with the Cochin Port Trust (CPT) at a suitable location,” he said.

At a recent high-level meeting between CSL and CPT officials, the Port Trust is learnt to have expressed its keenness in joining hands with the CSL to set up the facility. This apart, CSL is keen to set up a ship repair facility with ‘ship lift’ on the CPT premises for undertaking repair of small and medium-sized vessels.

The yard registered a profit of Rs.172 crore and a turnover of Rs.1,400 crore last financial year. It is currently building India’s first indigenous aircraft carrier for the Navy.