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Brazil's $8.43bn yard booster good for Asian yards

Brazil's $8.43bn yard booster good for Asian yards

Rio de Janeiro: Some Asian shipyards will gain financially from a new Brazilian law that will inject an extra Reais15bn (USD$8.43bn) into Brazilian shipping and shipyard programmes. For maritime industries operating in the South American country this week received a tremendous boost with the passing into law of MP 472 which promises to back future newbuildings and yard projects in the South American country.

The funds will be paid into Brazil's Fundo da Marinha Mercante (FMM, or Merchant Marine Fund), which provides money for shipping companies (foreign owned as well as Brazilian owned) to build ships in Brazil in order to bolster the Brazilian flag fleet. In recent years money has also been channelled to assist the construction of new shipyards and refurbishment of old yards.

Samsung Heavy Industries, which has a share in the Estaleiro Atlantico Sul shipyard in Suape, northeast Brazil, has already gained from FMM funding via both FMM cash for expanding the yard, and also via shipping companies (notably Transpetro) building their vessels there; nearly USD$3bn worth. Samsung has also passed on the benefit of its Brazilian liaison to fellow Korean outfit Doosan Engineering which provided the 10 engines for the 10 suezmax tankers currently being built at AS.

And both Daewoo and Hyundai HI are looking to invest in new yards in Brazil, probably with FMM funding, according to reliable SAO sources.
The news regarding the broke Reais15bn cash injection followedllowing a meeting of the FMM last Friday, which was the first since October 2008, and it means that a number of delayed newbuild projects can finally move forward.

The maritime and shipyard community in Brazil - and especially in Rio de Janeiro which is the heart of the industry in Brazil - has been worried for some time that the FMM, which receives cash from a special import tax (the AFRMM), did not have enough funds to deal with the costs of five planned new shipyards and newbuildings in all sectors, but especially in the offshore and tanker sectors. Many were worried that Brazil's President, Luis Inacio Lula da Silva, might not top up the fund, but now these fears have been allayed.

And Armando Freigedo Rodrigues, a Rio de Janeiro based maritime consultant, told Seatrade Asia Online: "Maritime companies in Rio were starting to get worried as it had been over a year since the last FMM board meeting. But now the government has agreed to underwrite several new FMM projects which have been on the table for several months without being progressed. Now funding for new projects, which include a handful of shipyards, tankers for Transpetro and box ships, can go ahead and the backlog can be reduced."

And that means more business for Samsung and other Asian equipment and service providers.  [23/12/09]