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MMHE to reach out to new business areas

MMHE to reach out to new business areas
Newly installed Malaysia Marine and Heavy Engineering Holdings (MMHE) md and ceo Abu Fitri Abdul Jalil will be focusing more on marketing and trying to internationalise the business, he said in an interview with local media.

“The difference is that I would be focusing more on the company’s business development and marketing. That is going to be the direct portfolio under me,” he said.

Abu Fitri added that the group was also taking up a new challenge by bidding for overseas onshore fabrication jobs, which have not been the company’s forte traditionally since MMHE is mainly involved in the construction of offshore production platforms.

“It is just a matter of working in a different environment. We are bidding for onshore jobs in Africa,” he said.

Currently, MMHE’s order-book stands at MYR1.9bn (523.9m) which will keep the company busy up to the third quarter of next year. Despite the drying up of jobs due to the plunge in oil prices from the fourth quarter last year, Abu Fitri believes that the worst is over for the sector and is confident of building up its orderbook soon.

He said the way to move forward was to widen the company’s profitability by bidding for more international projects.“We are hoping to land one big project at least by early next year. The most challenging part right now is to keep our staff busy, because we are expecting the sector to be better next year," Abu Fitri said, although MMHE had to cut about 20% last year to cope with the downturn. Current utilisation at the yard has come down to about 50% from 75% in early 2014.

“We want to maintain our current staff strength and our third-party contractors. If we don’t do that, then when we do win a big job, we don’t have the people to support it,” he said.

For this year, Abu Fitri said MMHE would be focusing on smaller engineering jobs to keep its current workforce busy as well as widening the search for contracts beyond Malaysian waters.

“At difficult times we have to go for smaller jobs, because a lot of big projects are expected to be delayed by about nine months to a year. My priorities for this year is to ensure our yards keep running.

“We are also bidding for about MYR4.5bn worth of projects in the overseas market, especially in the Middle East and Africa, for both offshore and onshore projects,” he explained, adding that the company was also in talks on Petronas’s Canadian plans.

“Moving forward, we need to take up the challenge to be more competitive in our pricing to help our clients cut down their costs,” he said.According Abu Fitri, the company is also pursuing several local jobs amounting to MYR2.5bn, which include the Refinery and Petrochemicals Integrated Development (RAPID) project in Pengerang, Johor, for structure and piping fabrication projects.