THAI dry bulk operator Precious Ship- ping has formed a joint venture with PPS Shipping, part of the Indian shipbuilding group ABG, to develop a cement carrier dry bulk business.
The move follows the signing of long-term charter contracts between Precious Shipping and India’s Ultratech Cement last Decemben covering three cement carriers with an option for a fourth.
The joint company, Associated Bulk Carriers, will order the iirst three cement carriers from ABG at a cost of around $28.5m per ship. Ultratech Cement has the option to order the fourth vessel.
Associated Bulk Carriers will also take over the memorandum of understanding signed between Precious Shipping and Mumbai's Ultratech Cement related to the charters of the vessels, which are to be delivered in 2011, 2013 and 2014, Precious Shipping managing director IG1alid Hashim said: “The strong position and standing of the ABG Group in India will allow PSL to secure similar business from other cement manufacturers in India.”
He added that ABG could provide ready access to a "reputed shipbuilder, namely ABG Shipyard, to build the purpose-built specialised ships required for the performance of these and similar future"contracts’C Mr Hashim said Associated Bulk Carri- ers, which will be equally owned between Precious Shipping and PFS Shipping, could also form wholly owned, special- purpose companies in Singapore to own and operate each of the ships on delivery. He added that Precious Shipping would be entirely responsible for the manage ment and business of Associated Bulk Carriers and the cement carriers.
The cement carriers would be funded by bankdebt "to the maximum extent possible" with the balance to be contributed by both partners in Associated Bulk Carriers. PPS Shipping was incorporated by ABG Group in 1994 and operates or has on order 10 anchor-handling and tug supply vessels that are due for delivery by the end of this year and three bulk carriers, including the 47,442 dwt handymax PFS Narayana.