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    Tidewater acquisition programme detailed

    Vessel & ROV News // May 18, 2001
    Tidewater has revealed more details of the large-scale acquisition programme it has embarked on.

    On 10 January 2001, the company entered into agreements with three shipyards for the construction of 12 vessels for a total estimated cost of approximately $305 million.

    Tidewater says new-build programme was initiated in order to meet the needs of the company's customers in the deepwater markets of the world. Seven of the vessels to be constructed are large platform supply vessels and five are large anchor-handling towing supply vessels capable of working in most deepwater markets of the world.

    Four of the platform supply vessels will be constructed at the company's shipyard, Quality Shipyards LLC, while the remaining eight vessels will be built at two Far East shipyards. The four vessels being constructed at Quality Shipyards LLC will be builtto full Jones Act compliance. As of March 31, 2001, $43.3 million has been expended on these 12 vessels of the estimated $305 million total commitment. Scheduled delivery of the vessels will commence in December 2001 with final delivery of the last vessel expected in January 2003. The company expects to finance the new-build program from its current cash balances, its projected cash flow and, if necessary, its revolving credit facility.

    In addition to the new-build programme discussed above, the company has also committed to the construction of five additional vessels for a total of approximately $52.9 million. These vessels consist of three large platform supply vessels under construction in Norway with scheduled completion dates in April, May and September 2001, and two large crew boats being built at US shipyards, to be delivered in April 2001 and January 2002. As of March 31, 2001, $11.3 million has been expended on these vessels.

    In February 2001 the company committed to a $48 million cash purchase - subject to final inspection and various other closing matters - of two anchor-handling tug supply vessels specifically designed and equipped for deepwater work. The purchase of the vessels was finalised on April 11, 2001.

    On December 15, 2000 the company sold four vessels (two offshore tugs and two crew boats) to one of its 49 per cent owned unconsolidated joint ventures for $17 million, of which $9 million was financed by the company. The transaction resulted in a gain on asset sale of $1 million.

    On November 21, 2000 the company purchased eight vessels from The Sanko Steamship Company Ltd for $160 million in cash. Four of the vessels are large anchor-handling tug supply vessels and four are large North Sea-type platform supply vessels. In addition, in fiscal 2001, the company purchased three large platform supply vessels for approximately $54.6 million.

    During the second quarter of fiscal 2001, the company sold its 40 per cent holding in its unconsolidated marine joint venture, National Marine Service (NMS), for approximately $31 million resulting in a $16.8 million gain. The after-tax effect of the gain on the sale was $10.9 million, or $.19 per share. As a result of the sale, the joint venture vessel count decreased by 24 vessels.

    During the second quarter of fiscal 2000, the company acquired six new-build vessels for an aggregate cash payment of approximately $22 million from an industry competitor. The package of vessels included one supply vessel, two offshore tugs and three crew boats. All six vessels were delivered to the market during fiscal 2000. In July 1999 the company sold all of its safety/standby vessels for approximately $40 million in an all-cash transaction. The specialised fleet was sold because it did not conformto the company's long- range strategies.

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