Austal has finalised plans to invest up to US$30 million to expand its commercial shipbuilding facilities in Western Australia and Asia.
The company announced on Monday it would expand the capacity in its Henderson shipyard in Western Australia as well as its existing facilities in Phillipines, following a significant increase to its order book.
Austal’s current commercial vessel order book is extending out until early 2021, including five large vessels (over 80 metres in length) which are collectively worth more than $400 million.
Expansion works have commenced and will be funded from Austal’s ongoing cash reserves. Completion of the works are expected during CY2018 at Henderson and in early CY2019 in the Philippines.
Austal CEO David Singleton said the investment was primarily focused on the large ferry market where Austal holds a competitive advantage through its advanced design, high-speed vessels, and modular construction approach.
“The capital investment in the commercial operation will increase Austal’s ability to secure and deliver large high speed aluminium vessel contracts in highly cost effective shipyards,” Singleton said.
“The demand outlook in the market for large high speed aluminium vessels underpins Austal’s decision to focus its investment in this sector.”
Austal’s Henderson operation is currently constructing a $100 million, 109-metre high speed catamaran ferry for Mols Lines of Denmark and will shortly commence construction of the first of two, 117-metre trimarans for Fred Olsen Lines, worth a combined $190 million, destined for the Canary Islands.
The A$6 million capital investment to upgrade the facilities at Henderson will include enhanced launch facilities to support large vessel construction and infrastructure upgrades to support improved efficiency across the operations.
The investment is in addition to last year’s expansion of capacity with the establishment of a Pacific Patrol Boat shipyard in a new facility in Naval Base. This facility is primarily focused on steel ship construction and will deliver the first of 21 vessels later this year. Production of the last vessel is due for completion in FY2024, under construction and sustainment contracts worth approximately $335 million.