Andrew Forrest snaps up five per cent of shipbuilder Austal

Mining and green energy magnate Andrew Forrest today snapped up five per cent of Perth international shipbuilder Austal.

The company told investors that Forrest’s Tattarang Ventures had bought 17,731,049 shares in the company in a cash-settled equity swap transaction – the equivalent of 4.9 per cent of the company.

The company has also been buying shares on-market and now has now invested $56.4 million in the company to take his holdings to eight per cent.

Austal is a star performer among Australian manufacturers, operating shipyards at Henderson in Perth, Cebu in the Philippines, Vietnam, and in the United States where it makes most of its profits building ships for the US Navy.

The company’s focus has been on multi-hulled aluminium ferries and naval ships, however in recent times it has begun building steel hulled vessels in Perth. The US government has subsidised it to expand into steel shipbuilding at its Mobile, Alabama yard (pictured).

The news from Austal has been almost exclusively good in recent years, however earlier this month it suffered a rare setback when the Philippines Navy overlooked the company’s Philippines shipyard for the construction of offshore patrol vessels.

The company told investors it has been informed by the navy that it would sole-source the purchase of foreign-built OPVs rather than buying Austal vessels built locally.

Austal last month posted a 14 per cent fall in first-half profit to $45.1 million.

The company’s shares were up 2.7 per cent and closed today at $1.90.

Picture: Austal USA, Mobile Alabama yard

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