Dockwise to Build New Marine Heavy Transport Vessel

The Board of Directors for Dockwise Ltd. has approved the commissioning of a newbuild vessel to serve the emerging demand for ocean transports of up to and above 100,000 metric tons. The decision is subject to approval by a Special General Meeting of shareholders to authorize the proposed USD 100 million rights issue to part-finance the investment.

As announced in relation to the Q2 results in August 2010, Dockwise has been studying the feasibility of investing in a new semi-submersible monohull vessel, bigger than its current largest vessel, the Blue Marlin. This so-called "Type 0" vessel, with capacity of more than 100,000 metric tons, and decksize of 275 x 70 meters will be a first for the maritime transport industry and is expected to require a total investment of approximately USD 200 million. Dockwise has applied for a patent on the design of the vessel.

Business Rationale for the New Build Vessel

The majority of Dockwise's revenues originate from the Oil & Gas industry. Current trends for projects and equipment in this industry are distinctly towards greater scale and size for premier projects:

  • Exploration and production is shifting from shallow water in traditional areas to deep water and remote areas.
  • Industry demand is for larger, heavier equipment, in single transportable modules.
  • Plant and equipment is increasingly constructed in dedicated, low cost environments ahead of transportation.

Dockwise's close liaison with customers commissioning production platforms, sparbuoys and FPSOs, to be deployed in offshore projects in the coming decade, has given Dockwise a view of the scale and complexity of the transportation demands, it will be required to meet as the industry leader. The new vessel, which has already passed its tank tests, will exhibit a revolutionary bowless design for key operational advantage.

With Dockwise's existing backlog in combination with projects on the horizon it is expected that the vessel will be occupied when it will come out of the shipyard in the latter part of 2012. Dockwise is currently in the process of negotiating with selected first rate shipyards for construction of the new vessel.

Financing of the Investment

The investment in the new Type 0 vessel is expected to require approximately USD 200 million.

In order to cater for a prudent financing of the vessel, Dockwise intends to raise approximately US $100 million through a fully committed rights issue (the "Rights Issue"). The proceeds of the Rights Issue will be used to pay down or otherwise reduce the senior credit facilities, thereby facilitating the financing of the acquisition of the Type 0 vessel. Dockwise intends to reduce the total amount outstanding under the senior credit facilities with approximately USD 110 million from the net proceeds of the Rights Issue and available cash on the balance sheet. The relevant waivers in respect of the existing debt syndicate, including covenant adjustments for 2011, 2012 and 2013, have been obtained. Furthermore, Dockwise intends to increase its current revolving facility by USD 110 million. For this, four banks (ABN AMRO Bank, Deutsche Bank, Rabobank, The Royal Bank of Scotland) have committed funds at an identical margin and also otherwise in line with the terms and conditions of Dockwise's existing revolving facilities.

Andre Goedee, Dockwise Chief Executive Officer, said:

"The decision to invest in this unique new vessel once again underlines our view towards the future and the position of Dockwise at the premium end of the marine heavy transport industry. We have determined that there is a growing desire to develop larger structures for the deepwater development of hydrocarbons and we have determined this investment to be key to support our clients, oil companies, engineers and the yards, in this trend in the next decades."