The planned merger between Singapore’s leading offshore and marine contractors has missed its touted completion date of by 31 March, but the companies are still working towards a tie-up and have now set the end of April as their new deadline.

Keppel Offshore & Marine and Sembcorp Marine on Thursday said they had made significant progress, including mutual due diligence and exchange ratio, on advancing the planned merger.

However, more time and deliberation will be required to complete due diligence, reach mutual agreement on the transaction terms and finalise definitive legal documentation.

“Both parties are committed to continue with exclusive negotiations and work towards a definitive agreement by 30 April 2022,” the duo said.

In response to the dramatic changes in the global offshore and marine engineering and energy sectors in recent years, the objective of the proposed combination is to create a stronger combined entity, leveraging respective strengths to realise synergies and deliver sustainable value over the long term for shareholders, the contractors noted.

Keppel added that significant progress has been made for the sale of Keppel O&M’s legacy rigs and associated receivables to a separate company (Asset Co) that would be majority owned by external investors.

This Asset Co transaction and the proposed tie-up with Sembmarine are inter-conditional and are being pursued concurrently.

However, both Sembmarine and Keppel stressed that while discussions are continuing on both deals, there is no guarantee that definitive agreements will be ultimately executed.

“Furthermore, any definitive agreements that the companies may agree upon will also be subject to conditions including relevant regulatory and shareholder approvals,” the companies said.