Swiber goes into liquidation

Singapore offshore services firm Swiber Holdings has made an application to wind up the company and place it into provisional liquidation.

The move comes on the back of the company receiving several letters of demand to the value of $25.9m and Swiber founder and non-executive chairman Raymond Kim Goh resigning from his position as Vallianz Holdings’ chairman and executive director overnight due to “heath reasons”.

Earlier in the week Swiber revealed that a $710m project it was contracted for in West Africa had been severely delayed and another in Vietnam cancelled, while in June the company said that British firm AMTC Ltd has failed to comply with its obligation to make a $200m payment for preference shares in its wholly-owned subsidiary, Swiber Investment Ltd (SIL).

Speaking to Splash, one industry observer said: “Hardly surprising given they lost 70% of their order book a couple of weeks ago. Swiber, like some of its peers had a lot of off balance sheet liabilities that the market has tended to overlooking at its peril. Yet another bank owned contractor it appears.”

According to its website, Swiber has a fleet of 51 vessels, made up of 38 offshore and 13 construction vessels.

The High Court of Singapore has today appointed provisional liquidators of the company and trading of its shares have been suspended. Meanwhile, three executive directors, vice chairman Francis Wong, group CFO Leonard Tay, and Nitish Gupta, have all resigned.

Swiber’s demise saw offshore stocks take a battering on the Singapore Exchange today as panic spread through the sector. Hardest hit was Vallianz, in which Swiber has a 25% stake. Vallianz was down by nearly 40%, Ezra down 5.4% and Ezion down by 5.7%, the latter even going so far as to issue a release stating it has no business connected with Swiber.

News of Swiber’s demise did not surprise Andre Wheeler, Splash’s offshore opinion writer, who warned other Singapore-listed firms may follow suit.

“Swiber is the tip of the iceberg that may well sink the titanic Singapore OSV providers,” Wheeler told Splash.


Latest: Swiber makes stunning liquidation U-turn, goes into judicial management

Grant Rowles

Grant spent nine years at Informa Group based in London, Sydney, Hong Kong and Singapore. He gained strong management experience in publishing, conferences and awards schemes in the shipping and legal areas, working on a number of titles including Lloyd's List. In 2009 Grant joined Seatrade responsible for the commercial development of Seatrade’s Asia products. In 2012, with Sam Chambers, he co-founded Asia Shipping Media.
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