Malaysia: BPHB to Fund Samalaju Deepsea Port Project Via Equity and Debt
Bintulu Port Holdings Bhd (BPHB) will fund the development of the RM1.8bil Samalaju deepsea port project through a combination of equity and debt.
Chief executive officer Datuk Mior Ahmad Baiti Mior Lub Ahmad said the equity to debt ratio would be announced soon after it was finalised with BPHB’s major shareholders. “We have discussed the proposed funding with the three major shareholders, Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas), Sarawak State Financial Secretary and Kumpulan Wang Persaraan (KWP),” he told reporters after the company AGM last week.
Petronas, Sarawak State Financial Secretary and KWP have 32.79%, 30.68% and 9.52% stakes respectively in BPHB.
Mior Ahmad said the new port’s funding method was recommended by PricewaterhouseCooper, which was appointed last year to carry out a detailed study on the project’s financial viability. He said part of the project’s funding would come from grants from the Federal Government. The Federal Government had earlier approved RM500mil to finance the project’s dredging and early phase development costs.
BPHB was tasked by the Sarawak government to build and operate the new port on 450ha, about 60km from Bintulu Port, which was expected to be operational in 2015.
The new port is a crucial component of the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE) development, and is designed to particularly serve industries in Samalaju Industrial Park for the import of raw materials and export of finished products.
Mior Ahmad said the proposed RM1.8bil total development cost would include RM300mil investment in port equipment.
“We are optimising the design of the new port to bring down the development cost.” Based on the port’s design and layout plan approved by the State Planning Authority, Samalaju Port can handle 18 million tonnes of cargo per annum compared with Bintulu Port’s current capacity of 16 million tonnes (non-liquefied natural gas cargo) per annum.
Mior Ahmad said Samalaju Port’s capacity could be raised to 30 million tonnes a year if necessary.
Site earthworks for the new port project are under way, and BPHB is expected to award the package to construct interim facilities later this month.
Eleven Malaysian companies had bid for the package that would involve the construction of a 300-metre long berth for barges with a depth of 7 metres.
These facilities are expected to be ready for operations in the first quarter of 2013.
The barges will transport building materials, equipment and other goods required for the construction of energy-intensive industries in Samalaju Industrial Park.
Mior Ahmad said construction work for the new port was targeted to commence early next year.
Dredging Today Staff, May 18, 2012; Image: bintuluport