AsiaMaritime CEOOffshore

HBA Offshore: IPO on the cards

HBA Offshore, a Singapore-based integrated solution provider in the offshore sector, is well prepared to stride across the doldrums in the sector and compete in new markets.

Hassan Basma, founder and chief executive officer of HBA Offshore, a veteran of the sector, looks at the current recession as just another cycle to be overcome.

“In my career I have seen six cycles so far, there’s almost a cycle every six to seven years,” says Basma.

Basma has over 35 years of experience in the oil and gas industries, of which the last 22 years were spent in Asia.  Basma’s last position was as CEO of Malaysian oil service provider Bumi Armada.

The main reason offshore lurches from one crisis to another is that owners fail to learn from past mistakes, according to Basma.

“As soon as the market is up, people start to build lots of ships again, sometimes recklessly I would say, and hence we end up with all the overcapacity, overleveraged balance sheets, stretched P&L and so on,” Basma says, adding that financial prudency during the good times and the ability to read and understand the trends are what is needed to survive full market cycles.

“We have a saying in the offshore sector, the second time buy makes money, not the first time,” Basma maintains.

With the offshore vessel sector so fragmented, consolidation is unlikely to help much with the overcapacity issue.

“This fallacy or misconception of consolidation is ridiculous. Even if you consolidate the top 10 players, you cannot consolidate more than 30% of the fleet,” Basma points out.

Basma reckons that the oil price crash means the industry has changed forever.  The recovery when it comes will result in a paradigm shift with new players poised to be the winners.

HBA Offshore provides bespoke shipmanagement services with a focus on offshore and marine sectors, and it also provides tailor-made solutions on specialist infrastructure assets such as FSOs, FPSOs, FSRUs and FLNGs. In addition, the company has also tapped into big data analytics and automation.

HBA Offshore is now leading a newly set-up private entity, Asia Strategic Turnaround Ventures, to buy out Swissco Holdings’ offshore support vessel fleet. The deal has already received approval from the listed group’s judicial managers.

Basma is bullish when it comes to FPSOs.

“The large scale project in Brazil and the smaller projects in Southeast Asia countries including Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam are relatively well defined now, which leaves the middle ground- the $300m-600m projects, where we think the next consolidation battles will take place, it is also where HBA Offshore is focusing,” Basma says. “There are not so many established players in there, I think the opportunities are right for us to go into the segment, which is why I set up HBA Offshore, we see this segment as very attractive.”

Looking at HBA Offshore’s future, Basma says the company will enhance technologies and competence in order to compete with new players in the market and the company is planning an IPO by 2021, which would be the second IPO in his career.

Basma will be speaking at Asia Pacific Maritime in Singapore next month.

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