Oil services firm GMS plans $400 mln capex to 2016; eyes Asia, west Africa
* SE Asia, W Africa expansion in 2015 - CEO
* Plans $400 mln capex on six new vessels by 2016
* Expects revenues to double in two years
* Business levels in 2014 in line with expectations
By Stanley Carvalho
ABU DHABI, May 8 (Reuters) - Oil services firm Gulf Marine Services plans to spend around $400 million up to 2016 and expand into south-east Asia and west Africa next year to tap strong demand for its vessels, its chief executive said on Thursday.
The Abu Dhabi-based firm, which debuted on the London Stock Exchange in March, is among the leading players in the offshore services industry in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) as well as the southern North Sea.
"There's huge potential in south-east Asia and west Africa where our type of assets are in demand and we need to take tonnage there," Chief Executive Duncan Anderson told Reuters in a phone interview.
Gulf Marine Services' (GMS) mid-sized vessels with an average age of nine years are well suited to work in south-east Asia where platforms have aged and require maintenance, he said.
The firm, which currently has a fleet of nine vessels, plans to add another six by 2016 as part of its new build programme with capital spending of around $400 million, he added.
Some $80 million out of the $100 million raised from the sale of new shares in its initial public offering (IPO) will be used for the fleet expansion programme, while $20 million was used to pay shareholder loans.
Pre-IPO shareholders Gulf Capital, Horizon Energy and Al Ain Capital also sold shares in the offering. GMS' share price has risen around 24 percent since its began trading on March 14.
GMS, which earned revenues of $184 million last year, expects to double this in the next two years on the back of demand and orders.
"We continue to see strong demand for our assets in brownfield oil and gas recovery, well services and maintenance," Anderson said.
"Our new build projects remain on schedule to meet extensive tender demand going forward, which will further strengthen our long term order book in 2014 and 2015."
Earlier on Thursday, in its first interim management statement as a public company, GMS said the group had an order book worth $395 million at March 31, providing good visibility on future earnings.
During the first quarter of this year, the group achieved overall fleet utilisation of 95 percent and current business levels were in line with expectations, the statement added.
Set up in 1977, GMS' fleet serves the oil, gas and renewable energy industries from its offices in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Singapore and the UK (Editing by Mark Potter)