Norebo enters ship-repair business with purchase of shipyard in Russia’s Far East

Published on
December 22, 2021
Murmansk, Russia-based Norebo has purchased the Petropavlovsk Kamchatskiy Repair Plant (PKRP)

Murmansk, Russia-based Norebo has purchased the Petropavlovsk Kamchatskiy Repair Plant (PKRP) and its affiliated companies to service its own and other companies' fishing fleets.

The purchase marks Norebo’s first foray into the ship-repair sector. PKRP is located in the Kamchatka Peninsula, near where most of Russia’s national catch – particularly pollock – is caught in the Sea of Okhotsk.

Norebo did not disclose the seller in the deal. or the sum paid for the facility. Kommersant previously reported the yard's owners had been pursuing a buyer, with an asking price of USD 5.7 million (EUR 5 million).

Norebo said it will invest in a full-scale modernization of the facility, with a planned investment of RUB 4.5 billion (USD 60 million, EUR 53 million) to be spent on new and refurbished ship berths, equipment, and a new dock. The facilities will provide ship repair and service for ships of all sizes and will serve as a base for changing crews. According to Norebo, the renovation project will be completed in 2027, at which time the yard will be able to service 60 vessels a year.

Norebo Deputy CEO Sergey Sennikov told Kommersant that the company has accrued the necessary expertise in ship repair and maintenance to make its acquisition of the facility a success. Sennikov said Russian companies currently working in the segment lack the competencies necessary to repair more modern, sophisticated vessels.

“We know well how this works in Norway, South Korea, China, and Poland, and want to establish facilities of this kind in Russia,” he said. 

The All-Russian Association of Fishing Industry (VARPE) previously estimated existing Russian ship-repair facilities can only cover 15 percent of demand. Those firms also primarily service smaller vessels, with large ships forced to seek service abroad.

Kamchatka Governor Vladimir Solodov said Russian companies could have earned RUB 20 billion (USD 269 million, EUR 238 million) over the last five years by servicing ships fishing in the waters near Kamchatka. Instead, that money was spent in South Korea and China.

“We see PKRP as a starting point for building a ship-repair industry on the peninsula,” he told the PortNews media agency. 

Even with the purchase, Norebo will still need access to skilled workers. An expert with the state-owned United Shipbuilding Corporation – which runs major Russian shipyards – told Kommersant that Norebo will have trouble finding workers in the sparesly-populated Kamchatka region, with a population of just 331,000 inhabitants.

However, Solodov said he has contacted Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Trutnev to request funding to modernize a college in the area for the purpose of educating a new labor force. In turn, Trutnev charged the Ministry for Development of the Far East to find a way to fund the endeavor.

VARPE President German Zverev told Kommersant  he expects other companies will follow on Norebo’s footsteps and enter the ship-repair sector.

Meanwhile, Sennikov said Norebo is pursuing a project to construct ship-repair and maintenance center in Russia northern fishery basin, but provided no additional details.  

Photo courtesy of yykkaa/Shutterstock

Reporting from Saint Petersburg, Russia

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