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SBF welcomes the financing support measures for M&OE companies

25 November 2016 [Singapore] - The Singapore Business Federation (SBF) welcomes the government’s announcement of IE Singapore’s enhanced Internationalisation Finance Scheme (IFS) and the reintroduction of SPRING’s Bridging Loan (BL) Programme for the marine and offshore engineering (M&OE) sector. These support measures are timely, particularly during a period when the sector is going through turbulent times arising from persistently low oil prices, low demand for services amid a large built-up capacity. There has also been heightened anxiety in the sector arising from news of some companies failures arising from their financing difficulties.

These issues were discussed during a dialogue held in September this year between SBF and key stakeholders such as the Trade Associations and Chambers, local banks, major M&OE companies and relevant government agencies. At this dialogue, industry participants felt that this was a unique cyclical issue which will need time for the market to correct. The industry was appreciative of Government support for the sector, but felt that some support measures might be needed in the short term.

Mr. Ho Meng Kit, CEO of SBF, said, “It is uncommon for Government to target financial support for a specific sector. That it is doing so now for the M&OE sector reflects the gravity of the situation and the importance of this sector to Singapore. We welcome this development. The bridging loan scheme will help local companies in the sector deal with their immediate financing needs. Hopefully this additional facility will allow more companies, particularly the smaller ones, to meet their tight cash flow needs in the short term.

The enhanced IFS signaled Government support for the industry to pursue growth opportunities internationally. This is a needed development as our companies must look for growth in new markets and new sectors. The industry should view these latest Government measures as providing some welcome relief but they are not the silver bullets that would solve the industry’s woes. With enterprises run by seasoned entrepreneurs and executives who are used to the hard knocks of this cyclical industry, I am certain that these companies will continue to be competitive and be leading players in this space during the eventual recovery.”

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