Dubai Drydocks World, the shipbuilding arm of state investor Dubai World, is eyeing yards in China, India and Vietnam, to expand capacity in the hot business of rig building with oil at records near $100 a barrel.
Chief executive Geoff Taylor told Reuters on Thursday that the company was part of a joint venture which is in advanced talks to buy a small unlisted shipyard in China's Jiangsu province along the Yangtze River delta.
Taylor said the deal was likely to cost Drydock World a total of $55 million. After the acquisition, likely to be completed in the next few weeks, the company plans to inject more cash to turn the yard into a larger shipbuilding and repair facility, he said.
The firm moved for its first acquisitions abroad last year, paying about $424 million in May for Singapore shipbuilder Pan-United Marine, and $1.6 billion in October to buy the city-state's offshore oil-rig builder Labroy Marine.
With Drydocks yard at home running at virtually full capacity and little land left for further expansion, Taylor said the purchases in Southeast Asia were aimed at securing scarce docking space and beefing up offshore oil-rig building capacity.
Currently it builds Ultra Large Crude Carriers
, converts tankers into floating production vessels and builds floating offshore rigs to explore and drill for oil.
Its parent, Dubai World, has long been on a global shopping spree, snapping up huge stakes in ports, airlines, office buildings and casinos, mostly in the developed world.