Austal Limited (ASX: ASB) announced that it has officially delivered, and its customer has accepted, the biggest commercial ferry (by volume) the Company has ever constructed at its shipyard in Henderson, Australia.
The final A$20 million-plus payment on the vessel was generated by the official delivery and was manufactured on the budget.
Construction of the A$109 million vehicle passenger ferry, to be named ‘Express 4’, started in 2017 for Molslinjen A/S (OMX: MOLS), using an enhanced design based on ASB’s established catamaran platform, but has a new optimized hull shape and vessel weight reduced solution to produce improved performance and superior fuel competence level. The vessel of 109 meters can transport around 1,000 tonnes and has the capacity of carrying over a thousand passengers and 425 cars.
It will work at speeds up to 40 knots and during testing attained a top speed of 47.8 knots (88km/hour), powered by four MAN engines that produce more power combined (36mW) than the Ord River hydropower plant (30mW).
Approximately 400 Austal employees worked on the vessel during the design, pre-fabrication, construction and fit-out phases of the vessel, drawing upon a supply chain of over 1,000 suppliers Australia-wide and internationally.
Austal CEO David Singleton said: The design and engineering enhancements pioneered by Austal’s Australian design team will enable Molslinjen to achieve lower operating costs and deliver an enhanced passenger experience, two of the most critical factors for global operators of large, high-speed ferries. Delivery of the Express 4 to Molslinjen confirms Austal’s position as Australia’s pre-eminent shipbuilder of large high-speed commercial craft, and the company expects that the delivery and operations of this vessel will trigger future orders for similar vessels from other ferry operators.
Construction of a similar design vessel, a 109-meter vehicle passenger catamaran for Fjord Line of Norway, is already well advanced at Austal Philippines, using the same hull enhancements.
Other commercial ferries currently under construction at Austal’s shipyards in Australia, Philippines and Vietnam include 2 x 117 metre vehicle passenger trimarans for Fred Olsen S.A of Spain, 1 x 83 metre passenger trimaran for JR Kyushu Jet Ferry of Japan, 2 x 50 metre catamarans for Brave Line of Taiwan, and 1 x 49 metre catamaran for SNC Aremiti of French Polynesia. Also, Austal’s joint venture in China, Aulong Shipbuilding, is currently constructing 5 x 42-meter catamarans and 1 x 69-meter catamaran for mainland China operators.
The official delivery of ‘Express’ 4 to Molslinjen marks the start of a 27-day voyage from Henderson to its home port in Odden in Denmark, via Sri Lanka, the Suez Canal, and Malta. The vessel is expected to commence regular ferry services in the Kattegat Sea from mid-March 2019.
ASB is an Australian shipbuilder and an international defence prime contractor who creates, builds and sustains a few of the most advanced commercial and defence vessels of the world. The company has turned out to be the largest aluminum shipbuilder in the world.
Looking at ASB’s stock performance and the return it has posted over the last few months, the stock has generated a positive return of 15.43% during the past three months. It is currently trading at A$2.00 (as on 31 January 2019, 02:06 pm AEST) down by 0.99% or 0.020 points. The stock opened at $2.010 with its daily low at $1.995 and a day’s high at $2.030. ASB has 351.99 million shares outstanding with a market capitalization of circa $711.03 million. The 52-week high and low of the company are marked at A$2.140 and A$1.550 respectively.
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