Dubai Drydocks World, the shipbuilding arm of state investor Dubai World, is eyeing yards in China, India and Vietnam, to expand capacity in the hot business of rig building with oil at records near $100 a barrel. Chief executive Geoff Taylor said recently that the company was part of a joint venture which is in advanced talks to buy a small unlisted shipyard in China's Jiangsu province along the Yangtze River delta.
Taylor said the deal was likely to cost Drydock World a total of $55 million. After the acquisition, likely to be completed in the next few weeks, the company plans to inject more cash to turn the yard into a larger shipbuilding and repair facility, he said. "We have big overall expansion plans — right now we are looking at more places in China, in India and Vietnam," Dubai-based Taylor said in a telephone interview. "Any potential acquisitions in Europe and the Americas will be down on our list of priorities," he said.
The firm moved for its first acquisitions abroad last year, paying about $424 million in May for Singapore shipbuilder Pan-United Marine, and $1.6 billion in October to buy the city-state's offshore oil-rig builder Labroy Marine. With Drydocks yard at home running at virtually full capacity and little land left for further expansion, Taylor said the purchases in Southeast Asia were aimed at securing scarce docking space and beefing up offshore oil-rig building capacity.