An SR1.13-billion contract for the manufacture of six tankers for National Chemical Carriers (NCC) was signed here yesterday. Faisal Saud Al-Saleh, NCC board chairman, signed the contract with Su Eun Yoo, chairman of Shina Shipbuilding Co. Ltd. of Korea, for building six chemical tankers of 45,000 deadweight tons apiece. The new ships will be delivered in 2009-10.
The signing ceremony, held at the Equestrian Club, was witnessed, among others, by senior officials from the Ministry of Transport, Public Investment Fund (Ministry of Finance), Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC) and diplomats from the Korean Embassy, besides the chief executives of several banks. It was also announced that the NCC would further increase its share capital from the current level of SR 500 million in preparation for the initial public offering, which would be floated by the end of this year. The company is planning to sell 30 percent of its shares to the public. A company’s spokesman said they were hopeful of a good response, since NCC had a strong showing last year with a net income of over SR65 million.
Speaking after the signing ceremony, Al-Saleh said the project represents part of the company’s fleet expansion program to reinforce its position in the chemical transportation industry. He added that it would boost Saudi exports of liquid petrochemicals, an area in which SABIC is the dominant player.
Elaborating on the chairman’s remarks, Abdullah Mohanna, chief executive officer of NCC, said the six new vessels would be built at the Shina Shipbuilding Co. Ltd. site in South Korea. The package also provides for 20 fully segregated cargo tanks with a cruising speed of 15 knots.
Established in 1990 as a limited liability company with a capital of SR500 million, NCC is 80 percent owned by the National Shipping Co. of Saudi Arabia, with SABIC owning the remaining 20 percent. It has a fleet of 17 vessels with a total of tonnage of 673,000 tons. This capacity would further increase with the addition of the six new vessels boosting the fleet to 23 ships.
The company operates part of its fleet through international cooperation with Odfjell Seachem of Norway as the largest operator worldwide. The other part of the NCC fleet operates under long-term charter to SABIC. It serves over 150 ports and carries about one-quarter of SABIC’s shipments for exports.