Tidewater Inc. signed contracts to build a total of 12 new vessels for $305 million, electing to build eight vessels at two Far East shipyards and four at its subsidiary, Quality Shipyard L.L.C. The $305 million in new build commitments - which fulfills its January 2000-announced plan to spend $300 million upgrading its fleet - falls on the heels of Tidewater's recent purchase of eight similar vessels from The Sanko Steamship Co., Ltd.
The eight vessels to be built outside the U.S. will be comprised of five large 280-ft. anchor handling towing supply vessels with greater than 20,000 hp and three 260-ft. platform supply vessels.
The four vessels being
built at Quality Shipyard will be similar platform supply vessels and will be built to full Jones Act compliance. "We are looking forward to introducing a state-of-the-art Tidewater fleet to the world through this new build program
," said CFO Keith Lousteau. "The overall new build program is priced exactly in line with our budgeted goal of approximately $300 million in commitments. We anticipate being able to pay for these new boats through present and forecasted cash flows without the need to take on any long-term debt." Scheduled delivery of the new vessels will commence in December of 2001 and will continue throughout 2002, with the final delivery expected in January of 2003. "This is an exciting time at Tidewater, with new vessels being purchased and built over the next few years," said Tidewater's Chairman, President and CEO William C. O'Malley. "The demand for the vessels we have previously purchased and that are already operational has been strong. We anticipate that these new ships will be working from delivery if market conditions remain stable or continue to improve as we anticipate." Tidewater Inc. owns and operates over 570 vessels - the world's largest fleet of vessels serving the international offshore energy industry.