SATS sinks Singapore Cruise Centre acquisition deal

AIRPORT and cruise terminal services provider SATS has terminated plans to acquire Singapore Cruise Centre (SCC), citing “market developments in Asia”.

Subsidiaries SATS Airport Services and SATS-Creuers Cruise Services first entered into an agreement in September 2013 to buy over the terminal operator from Temasek Holdings unit Hazeltree Holdings (TTG Asia e-Daily, September 27, 2013).

The agreement withdrawal is not expected to have a material financial impact on SATS, according to the firm in a media statement on Monday.

“This announcement does not in any way alter SATS’ commitment to grow our successful operations at the Marina Bay Cruise Centre Singapore (MBCCS) and to promote Singapore as a homeport, nor our ambition to pursue regional cruise opportunities,” said Alex Hungate, president and CEO of SATS.

“We remain confident about the prospects for the Asian cruise market and will continue to actively pursue value-creating opportunities to implement our strategy of growing scale and enhancing connectivity.”

SATS already operates MBCCS, while SCC manages and operates the international cruise and regional ferry terminals at HabourFront Centre, as well as Tanah Merah and Pasir Panjang ferry terminals in Singapore.

Although the proposed acqusition would minimise competition between the two cruise terminals, Asia Cruise Association general manager, Kevin Leong, told TTG Asia e-Daily that the rise of regional ports like Hong Kong’s Kai Tak Cruise Terminal would already challenge Singapore’s status as a hub.

“To face this common regional threat, the two terminals (MBCCS and SCC) will be better off with a strategy of coordination in berth allocation, differential pricing, cost savings in overheads, efficiency from common protocols, de-duplication, deployment of services like CIQ, etc. If savings are passed on to the cruise lines, Singapore will remain a very cost-competitive and effective cruise hub,” said Leong.

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