Muscat: MB Holding Company, one of the largest oilfield services firms in the Middle East, is set to expand its Rotterdam shipyard facility in the Netherlands, said Mohammed Al Barwani, the group chairman.
MB group has acquired Oceanco a specialised shipyard in building luxury super yachts in 2010. "Most of you know me as an oil man but my investment in the Netherlands is in shipbuilding. We bought a well known shipbuilding facility called Oceanco. Some of the top shipbuilding businessmen in the world have bought super yachts from us. Our market tends to be the Arab world, Asia, India, the United States and Europe," Barwani told journalists, after a meeting with Ahmed Aboutaleb, mayor of Rotterdam, who was on a short visit to Oman.
"We currently employ about 200 people but our intention is to increase it to 400 people. We have a lot of sub contractors. Our business in the Netherlands is extremely successful. In the past year, we have sold about five super yachts. The total value of these super yachts would be about €750 to €800 million," he added.
Elaborating on the current plans to double shipbuilding capacity of the yard, he said; "Till now, we have made an investment €80 to €100 million. Essentially we paid around €85 million when we bought the company after which we extended the working capital of €20 to €30 million."
Our future expansion is another €80 million. The total investment will be around €200 million when it is all finished."
On the benefits of this project to Oman, Barwani noted: "The number one benefit is that we are an investor and it is the return on investment to a company based in Oman. We now have three ship yards in Holland, Poland and Malaysia. So this has turned out to be a very successful business and we have also marketing heavily out of Oman to the Middle East, Asia and India."
Addressing the media, Talal Al Awfi, chief executive of Oman Trading International said that his company is trying to expand its 'footprint globally'.
"Being one of the first entities to be engaged in the activity of oil trading, we started some seven years ago in Dubai (headquarters) with offices in Oman. While we have a trading office in Singapore, as part of expansion plans, we are opening offices in Shanghai and Rotterdam within the next three to six months. This will be its first trading office in Europe."