Australian shipbuilder Austal has requested a trading halt in its securities pending "an announcement in relation to a material government shipbuilding contract".
The shipbuilder is bidding for the Sea 1180 Offshore Patrol Vessel contract and is partnered with German designer and shipbuilder Fassmer with its OPV80.
The company requested the trading halt take effect immediately and that it continues until the release of the relevant announcement, or no later than commencement of trading on Friday 24 November 2017 (whichever is earlier).
The National Security Committee sat yesterday to undertake final consideration of the bids for Project Sea 1180. An announcement regarding the successful tender is expected imminently and would be timely given steel cut is scheduled for 2018.
Austal share’s were down 5¢, or 2.9 per cent, to $1.675 when trading stopped at 10.35am.
Austal had held its AGM on 27th October. On 9th November it issued a company announcement to the ASX in response to a media report in The West Australian which had referred to "an update to shareholders" about the future of the company's shipbuilding operations in Australia.
The announcement sought to clarify that no separate update had been provided to shareholders regarding the the company's operations, but that Austal CEO David Singleton had, in his presentation to shareholders at the AGM, declared: "This (OPV) program is the single most important project Henderson has ever bid or is likely to bid as it creates a backbone of work for the next 15-20 years. It ensures Henderson survives. Other Defence, comercial and sustainment work wil see Henderson develop further".
The other Sea 1180 contenders are Damen with its Damen 1180 design and Luerssen, also with an OPV80. Both are teamed with an ASC Shipbuilding/Civmec Forgacs joint venture for the build should they be successful.