A vessel at the Asry yard

A vessel at the Asry yard

Asry’s Q1 revenues were highest

01 September 2013

ASRY, the Bahrain-based Arab Shipbuilding and Repair Yard, posted the highest first-quarter 2013 revenues in the company’s history.

Revenues of $54 million in Q1 of the financial year surpassed all previous revenues for the same period since its inception in 1977. The surge is the latest in a momentum shift that has seen the yard’s business accelerate away from the downturn of recent years, defying market forces, it said.

“We’re pleased to see a response from our recent investment in expansion,” said chief executive Chris Potter.” By investing in creating a yard that now has the leading variety of facilities and capabilities, the market seems to be welcoming a fully diversified marine complex,” he added.

The record revenues were nearly equally derived from the two main income sectors in the region, ship repair and offshore repair.

The reasons for the upsurge are threefold, the company said. Firstly there is a reassuringly strong commitment from the major fleets of the region including Kuwait Oil Tanker Company, Middle East Ship Management, United Arab Shipping Company, Red Sea Marine, Vela International Marine and more who are clearly pleased with the yard’s commitment to quality.

Secondly, a solid reputational position compared with neighbouring yards is suggested by the fact that there is very strong support from regional customers and international owners. Thirdly, average contract values have exhibited an increase in 2013 with a 10 per cent approximate rise in first-quarter contract prices over the same period in 2012.

Asry reported that its offshore division contributed approximately 44 per cent of the company’s income last year and reaffirmed its commitment to growing its business in a multiservice setting and to raising skills resources.

In recent years Asry has been split into four distinct business units: ship repair services, which will continue to remain the core business; offshore services, consulting services and energy services.

“Through this new configuration, global customers can experience the advantages of Asry that have made it the leading repair complex in the region,” the company’s chairman, Sheikh Daij bin Salman Al Khalifa, said.

“These advantages are four-fold. Firstly, it is the most experienced marine facility in the region with 35 years of repair knowledge. Secondly, Asry is one of the most flexible yards due to the recently expanded 4 km of berth space. Thirdly, it is an integrated repair destination that includes all in-house representation of all suppliers and contractors required for a turnkey repair job. And finally, Asry boasts leading turnaround times in the region thanks to Bahrain’s business-friendly administrative, legal, and customs processes,” he said.

Revenues at Asry were $177 million last year, up 5.23 per cent over the previous year. The 44 per cent contribution to income by the offshore division was its highest ever share of total revenues, CEO Potter said.

Attending to equipment

“The division continues to be the primary pillar of Asry’s revenues. Revenues grew in the face of ongoing downward forces in the market, owing largely to diversification,” he said.

“Over the last year, two other divisions became integral to our offerings - Asry Consultancy Services and Asry Energy. The latter saw completion of the first barge hull, and the former was inaugurated later in the year and already has projects underway.

“Modernisation of the yard facilities also entered its final phase last year, with several major projects being completed.

“New quay wall cranes were commissioned, adding another 45 tonnes of total lifting capacity to the yard and bringing the quay wall in line with leading berth infrastructure standards. A new sewage treatment plant and yard-wide network was completed, raising the standards of the yard waste management systems to international levels.

“Also, new facilities for labour accommodation were constructed on an area of 7,200 sq m, upgrading the standard of living of the yard’s workforce.”

The company’s $188-million expansion programme is largely complete.

According to Potter, the company also overhauled its global agent network in order to maximise reach into primary target markets across the world. This included new agent appointments in Germany and Benelux as well as Japan, which have already yielded appreciable increases in business from both markets.

A new approach was also taken to agent-principal relationships, with greater communication implemented in ways such as annual agent workshops, increased marketing support and a dedicated agent manager within Asry.

Last year also saw a new brand rollout which helped to make the company’s corporate communications strategy more coherent.

Recognising the key role of employee training and development in the company’s success, Asry continues to invest in the national workforce as a part of its strategic policy, Potter said. This has resulted in an extensive range of human resources benefits across the firm and the entire industrial sector and the company expects more efficient work processes and greater output capacity as a result of the upgraded yard capabilities, he said.

Asry is finalising the third phase of its $3.2-million apprenticeship programme, with the next intake of students happening shortly.

The third batch will have a more enhanced focus on the practical application of theoretical knowledge with apprentices spending more time in Asry. Run in association with UK-based Engineering Construction Industry Training Board (ECITB), the programme is part of a tie-up that also includes the awarding of International Health and Safety Passports (IHSP) to over 1,000 Asry staff.

Under the programme, graduates are given training in electrical and technical proficiencies in Asry’s workshops with a view to becoming full-time employees. Apprentices are examined through online knowledge tests and Asry-based practical tests, achieving International Competence in Engineering-Construction (ICE) certifications, all overseen by ECITB.

Late last year, the shipyard in association with Tamkeen and the National Institute for Industrial Training, accelerated the programme with 23 students being inducted.

Furthermore, Asry has issued its 1,000th ECITB IHSP as part of its safety training programme.

Having identified a need to standardise regional yard safety in order to track and improve supervisor-level safety training and development, the company developed a yard-specific enhanced safety awareness training course. It takes ECITB stated minimum requirments and exceeds them to include Asry and ship repair-specific health, safety, and environment (HSE) considerations.

The yard said it has also seen an 18 per cent reduction in HSE-related incidents and the introduction of the IHSP has corresponded to a step change in HSE behavioural improvement.

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