Swiber's headquarters in Jurong put on market for S$40m

Citi Commercial Pte Ltd

SWIBER Holdings' headquarters, initially meant to be transferred to a new holding group (New Swiber), has been offered for sale via private treaty with a guide price of S$40 million.

The troubled offshore and marine group had acquired the leasehold, five-storey office building at 12 International Business Park for S$37 million back in 2011, using internal resources and bank borrowings.

Debt-laden Swiber Holdings and its subsidiary Swiber Offshore Construction (SOC) have been under judicial management since 2016, with creditors stuck in limbo after it defaulted on bond payments.

Sole marketing agent Savills Singapore told The Business Times (BT) on Tuesday that the property "has never been officially out on the market for sale until our current appointment".

Formerly known as Swiber@IBP and now 12IBP, the property has a JTC Corp leasehold tenure of 60 years, effective from Dec 1, 1995, which works out to a remaining lease of about 35 years.

The property, together with a handful of vessels, was pledged to a secured creditor of Swiber Holdings, based on previous regulatory filings.

Previously, proposed rescue packages for the struggling oilfield services firm had included plans to transfer the property and vessels into the New Swiber group, and for these assets to possibly secure new redeemable convertible bonds (RCBs).

However, the most recent deal inked excluded the headquarters and vessels as well as the restructuring of certain secured debts.

Saudi Arabian oil and gas conglomerate Rawabi Holding in late December 2020 signed a definitive US$200 million investment agreement, which no longer stipulated the transfer of 12IBP and four vessels to New Swiber and its subsidiaries as part of the conditions precedent.

The latest agreement superseded the term sheet signed last June, when those assets were initially contemplated to secure US$78 million in RCBs to be issued to the abovementioned secured creditor.

Before Rawabi came into the picture, New York-listed box ship player Seaspan Corporation had similarly signed an investment agreement in March 2019 to inject up to US$200 million.

The Seaspan plan would have entailed an internal restructuring involving the transfer of 12IBP and five vessels to the New Swiber group, while certain secured creditors were to be issued US$120 million in five-year zero-coupon RCBs.

Swiber said in March 2019 that the restructuring would allow New Swiber to continue to operate the group's "key assets" including its headquarters building and specialised construction vessels.

Although the lion's share of creditors approved the restructuring proposal in May 2019, the Seaspan investment agreement was terminated in January 2020 as certain conditions precedent, including those relating to the transfer of assets and the debt restructuring, were not fulfilled nor waived by the long-stop date of Dec 31, 2019.

It is unclear how a sale of the headquarters, if successful, will affect the rescue of Swiber Holdings and SOC, as well as where New Swiber might base its operations.

The companies' judicial managers from KPMG declined to comment when approached by BT.

12IBP has a total site area of about 86,115 square feet (sq ft) and a gross floor area of some 116,695 sq ft. The land is zoned for business park use with a maximum plot ratio of 2.5, under the Urban Redevelopment Authority's Master Plan 2019.

Sharon Teo, managing director for business space at Savills Singapore, is handling the sale. She said that the property offers redevelopment opportunity, given its current underutilised plot ratio and long remaining land lease of 35 years.

As 12IBP has ready infrastructure and a dual-feed power supply, potential interest may come from the e-commerce or data centre industries, as well as technology and research-oriented companies, Ms Teo added.

The property is located off Jurong Town Hall Road and at the southern part of the 37-hectare International Business Park, which was Singapore's first business park and established in 1992.

International Business Park is home to a cluster of high-tech buildings catering to knowledge-based activities such as software development and research, as well as some ancillary supporting uses, said Savills.

Prominent developments within the business park include The Synergy Business Park Building, The Strategy, the Nordic European Centre, iQuest@IBP, the German Centre Singapore, Acer Building and Icon@IBP.

Also in the vicinity is the 70-hectare Jurong Gateway, which will be centred around Jurong East MRT station and serve as the commercial hub of Jurong Lake District and the western region of Singapore.

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