London-headquartered emerging markets specialist Aureos Capital has put $5.6 million into Marsun Company Limited (MCL), a Thai ship designer, builder and service provider, in return for an undisclosed stake described by a spokesperson for the firm as a “significant minority”.
MCL is the market leader in its field for vessels under 100 meters, Aureos said. It makes crew boats, passenger ferries, motor yachts, fast patrol boats, research vessels, landing crafts and oil-spill recovery vessels, as well as offering ship refitting, ship maintenance and repair, general engineering and project feasibility studies.
MCL is a Thai ship builder
“The prospects for growth in the region’s shipbuilding sector are significant,” Liam Cully, regional managing partner for Aureos in Southeast Asia, said in a statement. “There is a growing demand for offshore vessels in the region as well as a strong replacement need coming from old vessels in the oil and gas industry. There is also a highly skilled labour market in the country, with very competitive labour costs.”
The deal marks the fourth investment in Thailand and the twelfth deal overall from the $91 million Aureos South-East Asia Fund, which was set up to invest in Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. The total amount invested so far from the fund is $45.8 million.
The fund’s previous investments in Thailand were in a restaurant chain, a water recycling business and an engineering firm. A spokesperson for Aureos said the fund had “a strong pipeline currently” and the firm was “looking at investment opportunities in Indonesia, Philipines and Thailand in financial services and manufacturing”.
Aureos Capital spun out of UK emerging market investment agency CDC in July 2001 and has 11 funds under management. The firm is currently raising capital for a further three funds, including a $100 million Central Asian fund; a $300 million Latin American fund and a $400 African million fund.