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Pipavav Shipyard eyes European rig operator

Mumbai: Gujarat-based Pipavav Shipyard Limited (PSL) is in talks to acquire an oil rig and shipping company in Europe; and will utilize a Rs1.78 billion ($40 million) cash reserve it has set aside for the purpose.

While names of potential targets were not disclosed by PSL chairman Nikhil Gandhi, he did assert that the company thought that a presence in the European shipping industry would help it to attract new customers.

The yard has an order-book of 22 Panamax bulk carriers of 74,500 dw/t from top European shipowners like Golden Ocean, Setaf and Avgi Maritime, but faces cancellation of the contracts of nearly half of these vessels due to the delays in delivery.

PSL's main promoter, SKIL Infrastructure Limited, plans to approach the capital market in India later this year to raise around Rs15 billion in an initial shares sale; and expects to use the funds gathered to settle debt and to expand the capacity of the shipyard within the next 12-18 months by adding two drydocks.  [21/04/10]

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