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Bourbon to shed older vessels, reorganise and focus on smart shipping

Tue 13 Feb 2018 by David Foxwell

Bourbon to shed older vessels, reorganise and focus on smart shipping
Gaël Bodénès: “we need to go even further, because market overcapacity is driving prices down”

Offshore support vessel super major Bourbon Corporation is to reorganise itself and focus on its ‘smart shipping’ plan to drive down operating costs.

Bourbon’s board of directors approved a plan on 12 February 2018 that will see it invest in smart shipping but shed 41 older vessels.

“As the market cycle has bottomed out, Bourbon must focus more than ever on operational excellence, fleet utilisation, cost reduction and free cash flow preservation,” said its chief executive Gaël Bodénès. “However, we need to go even further, because market overcapacity is driving prices down. The crisis has highlighted the need to change our model and this is what the #BOURBONINMOTION plan is all about.”

The company plans to reorganise into three divisions: Bourbon Marine & Logistics, Bourbon Subsea Services and Bourbon Mobility. These three entities will be able to implement their own strategies.

It also plans to capitalise on the digital revolution to better differentiate its offering. The smart shipping programme will connect a fleet of 132 vessels (Bourbon’s smart fleet). The company will invest more than €75M (US$92M) over three years in order to reduce operating costs.

A total of 41 older vessels, which cannot be connected, will be sold. This planned disposal is expected to generate an impairment loss of about €170M in Bourbon’s 2017 financial statements.

These three new affiliates will benefit from privileged access to the market, thanks to the many existing partnerships in the main countries where Bourbon currently operates in strict compliance with local regulations, particularly in terms of local content.

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