Keppel Corp’s offshore and marine operations returned to the black in 2022 on the back of improving market conditions.

The Singapore-listed company recorded a net profit for the year of SGD 88m ($67m) reversing the previous year’s net loss of SGD 225m.

Keppel Offshore & Marine (Keppel O&M) secured SGD 8.1bn of new orders during last year, bringing its net orderbook to SGD 11bn at the end of December 2022 — the highest level since 2007.

The Keppel subsidiary said it also made good progress in putting its legacy rigs to use.

“All available KFELS B Class jack-up rigs have secured bareboat charters, while the remaining legacy rigs continue to attract active enquiries,” the company said.

Keppel Corp is in the final stages of combining its offshore and marine activities with local rival Sembcorp Marine. It received Keppel shareholders’ approval at the company’s extraordinary general meeting in December 2022.

Earlier this week, Sembcorp Marine received in-principle approval from the Singapore Exchange for the combination. Its shareholders are due to vote on the deal on 16 February 2023.

Had the proposed combination been completed at the end of 2022, Keppel said it would have resulted in a pro forma disposal gain of about SGD 3.4bn or SGD 1.94 per share.

Keppel said it had to make provisions for “certain projects” at its shipyard in the US, but did not disclose any details as to which project this referred to.

This was offset by an SGD 293m partial reversal of impairments made in 2020 for Keppel O&M’s legacy rig assets when oil prices fell sharply following the Covid-19 outbreak.

Keppel Corp was the largest buyer of its own shares on the Singapore Exchange in 2022, according to recent data from the city state’s bourse.

It bought back SGD 500m-worth of its shares last year at an average price of SGD 6.59 per share as it looked to create currency for potential merger and acquisition (M&A) transactions.

Earlier this week, Keppel O&M said it had made full payment of the fines and damages payable worth SGD 88.3m to Brazil under a leniency agreement that had been set out earlier.

The fines are penalties for corrupt payments made by a former agent of Keppel O&M to Petrobras officials to secure drilling rig newbuilding contracts.

In January 2023, six former Keppel Corp senior management staff allegedly involved in the bribes scandal were issued with stern warnings by Singapore’s Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau.