Pipavav Shipyard to focus on defence, oil and gas sectors

Pipavav Shipyard to focus on defence, oil and gas sectors

Bangalore: Private shipbuilder Pipavav Shipyard Ltd, co-promoted by engineering firm Punj Lloyd Ltd, will focus on building ships for the defence and oil and gas sectors, a top executive said.

The shipbuilding firm, India’s newest in the private sector, is looking to tap into a portion of the big projects lined up by the Indian Navy, estimated to be worth Rs50,000 crore to be spent in the next 15-20 years.

“Going forward, we will position ourselves as a builder of defence vessels and ships used to support oil and gas exploration activities along the coast," Bhavesh Gandhi, vice-chairman of Pipavav Shipyard, said Mint over the phone from Mumbai.

Gandhi said the new focus on the defence and oil and gas sectors had nothing to do with the fact that the global commercial shipbuilding business has not been in good shape in the past 12 months.

“It is just that the demand in these two sectors is so huge that it requires a company of large scale and size with modern infrastructure to undertake the job," he said. “We are at the right place, at the right time to service the needs of these two sectors."

Pipavav has applied for a tender floated by the Indian Navy to build seven ships, including patrol and training vessels.

Gandhi said Pipavav will have tie-ups with specialists in naval shipbuilding on a project-by-project basis. “For instance, we will outsource design for naval ships from global firms specializing in this area," he said.

He added that the firm had a large contingent of people involved in building naval ships in Russia and Germany.

As the firm grows, Pipavav Shipyard plans to raise at least Rs550 crore through an initial public offering between 17 and 24 September.

In July, it won a $112 million (around Rs545 crore) contract from state-run explorer Oil and Natural Gas Corp. Ltd to build 12 ships that will be used to support its drilling operations.

The firm has also secured contracts worth $1.1 billion to build 26 dry bulk cargo ships from global fleet owners such as Setaf SAS of France and Avgi Maritime Services SA of Greece.

The shipyard, which has the largest dry dock facility in the country, is equipped to build oil super tankers.

A dry dock is a large dock from which water can be pumped out, and is used to build or repair a ship below its waterline.