Powering success

Asia Outlook profiles Asia Projects Engineering Pte Ltd, a company primarily engaged in plant engineering work and maintenance. With over 40 years of experience, it has worked with some of the biggest names in the power, petrochemical, oil & gas, and utilities industry and has become one of Southeast Asia's most trusted engineering companies.

Writer Ian Armitage

Tuas Power. YTL PowerSeraya. Singapore District Cooling. Alstom Power. Keppel Infrastructure. Senoko Energy. Babcock-Hitachi. Pfizer Asia Pacific. SembCorp Industries. Siemens. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. Mitsui Engineering and Shipbuilding. What do all these names have in common? They've all worked with one of Southeast Asia's most trusted engineering companies, Asia Projects Engineering.

Also known as APECO, the firm has over 40 years of experience, says Managing Director Mr. ML Heng, in providing "integrated solutions and services in engineering, including design, engineering, procurement, fabrication, construction and maintenance."

He says the firm's staff has "decades of experience", paired with "extreme efficiency" and professionalism.

"You know you're in safe hands," Mr Heng explains.

APECO specialises in the power, petrochemical, pharmaceutical, utility, infrastructure and oil & gas industries and has been steadily and substantially growing as a business thanks to a focus on reliable quality and high standards.

In 2009, it enjoyed record turnover, completing successful projects with the likes of SembGas, Senoko Energy and Singapore District Cooling.

Although turnover has dipped slightly since, Mr Heng still expects the firm to achieve over S$80 million this year.

"In 2009 we achieved our highest turnover at $83 million, completing several big projects," he says. "Turnover for 2010-11 was in the range of $75 million and in 2012 there was a reduction and it came down to $68 million. What was that down to? In 2011 we completed a couple of big projects. In 2012 we got another couple of projects but it was of smaller size in terms of value. So that is why there was the dip.

"Are there plenty of projects still out there?" he adds. "Yes, at this moment there are substantial number of inquires coming in."

A number of those are from the oil & gas and petrochemicals industry and APECO is picking up a lot of work on Jurong Island, says Mr Heng.

"We have upcoming projects in Jurong Island and Singapore's petrochemical and oil & gas industries including liquefied petroleum gas are very healthy with a number of players building new plants."

For one, APECO is working on Singapore's liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal, the first open-access, multi-user LNG terminal in Asia, capable of importing and re-exporting LNG from multiple suppliers.

"That is a major project of ours," Mr Heng explains. "We are currently working on it and by year end it will be completed."

Singapore received its first commercial delivery of LNG in May, diversifying its supplies and underscoring the country's role as a regional energy hub at a time when Asia's gas demand and trade is booming.

"We expect further opportunities in that sector," Heng adds. "We have a number of projects in the pipeline which is still in the negotiation stage."

APECO is expecting to pick up work in other sectors too, as it looks to "diversify from power".

"In terms of turnover for this year we are targeting over $80 million and where inquiries are concerned we are diversifying our work to other areas like M&E. Recently we have listed our company with Singapore's Building Construction Authority as a registered M&E contractor.

"Why are we diversifying? It makes good business sense. Singapore's power industry is saturated – currently there is an oversupply of electricity here – and we don't foresee many new power stations being built in the near future. So we are diversifying our works to other industries, specifically the new petrochemical plants in Jurong Island where we are installing pipelines, equipment, utility pipelines and structures etc."

APECO has an innovative approach and thrives on a challenge.

It has an excellent track record in handling a variety of projects.

"We have a commitment to building long-term working relationships with our clients and have had close collaborations on a multitude of projects in a number of industries.

"We have built strong relationships with customers and suppliers, achieving considerable growth, and we have an excellent track record in handling different kinds of projects, be it small or large. Our staff share the same vision of building APECO into a high performance engineering company."

The firm's structure is symbolic of its future plans and it is organised into several structured departments – project and construction, maintenance and operations, engineering and proposal, fabrication, civil, and electrical and instrumentation.

"Do I see a bright future for us? Yes I do. We are specialists in EPC work and are diverse in what we are able to do and offer."

Of the 100 staff employed by the company, a number of staff have been with the firm over 20 years. That longevity is critical.

"They are part of the culture of the company and help drive us forward," Mr Heng says. "Culture is very important here.

"What is the secret to our success? Offer integrated solutions and services in engineering, procurement, construction and maintenance and have a very strong track record of delivery. The ultimate target is to deliver the project on time, to the desired quality and in budget. That is our aim and that is what we have historically done."

By 2016 he hopes the firm will be turning over $100 million.

"That is one target," Mr Heng says. "We think we can achieve that.

"We are also eyeing overseas expansion, looking at Malaysia and Myanmar. We are looking for new partnerships with the local counterpart in the respective countries.

"We have high hopes for the district cooling market in terms of our EPC offering. The government is promoting district cooling and our target is to continue our work in this area."

APECO is a company on the up and up. To learn more visit www.apeco.com.sg.

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