SINGAPORE (Apr 16): Crane supplier Hiap Tong Corp could soon take its first big step out of Singapore. The company is in talks with several Malaysian parties with an eye towards scoring contracts for mega infrastructure projects there. “This year, we have planned capital expenditure for Malaysia,” Alvin Ong, executive director of Hiap Tong, tells The Edge Singapore. “We see some good infrastructure projects [coming up in Malaysia] like the MRT projects in KL [and the] refinery in Johor.”

Mass Rapid Transit Corp is currently evaluating tenders for a 40km Circle Line running around the periphery of the Kuala Lumpur city centre while national oil company Petronas is building the 6,242-acre Pengerang Integrated Petroleum Complex in Johor. Ong reckons Hiap Tong’s negotiations with the Malaysian parties are likely to be concluded by the second half of this year.

Founded 40 years ago, Hiap Tong supplies lifting and transport services as well as manpower to the oil and gas, petrochemical and marine sectors. It has at least 116 cranes and 178 pieces of haulage equipment. Hiap Tong specialises in mobile cranes, which are smaller, more agile and take less time to set up than crawler cranes. The recent O&G industry slump has narrowed its margins. “The prices in Singapore now are really depressed,” Ong says. “Rates have fallen about 40% since the downturn.”

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