SINGAPORE – Keppel Corporation and rig builder Sembcorp Marine (Sembmarine) on Thursday morning (June 24) requested in separate filings to the Singapore Exchange for a halt in the trading of their shares pending announcements.

Keppel announced in January it was exiting the rig business as its offshore and marine unit pivots to clean energy, following a strategic review.

Keppel Offshore & Marine (O&M) would stop building offshore oil drilling platforms, after the oil price crash saw it post record losses of $1.19 billion last year.

Keppel O&M would be separated into three discrete parts, with two of the entities – Rig Co and Dev Co – holding its completed and uncompleted rigs respectively.

Keppel said then it was also exploring inorganic options for the O&M business.

Sembmarine, meanwhile, was recently fully demerged from its parent, Sembcorp Industries. Temasek, which is the biggest shareholder in Keppel and Sembmarine, dropped its plan last year to take a controlling stake in Keppel, following the company’s poor financial results. 

Temasek’s role in making a partial offer for Keppel and moving to directly own a stake in Sembmarine had been viewed by many analysts as critical for a consolidation of the struggling O&M sector.

Keppel shares closed on Wednesday up six cents, or 1.2 per cent, at $5.11, while Sembmarine shares ended 0.2 cent, or 1.1 per cent, higher at 19.1 cents.