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Hot stocks: Petrobras scandal resurfaces to haunt Keppel Corp, SembMarine

Tuesday, June 23, 2015 - 10:48
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SHARES of local yards were trading a tad lower on Tuesday morning as the Petrobras scandal resurfaced to haunt them.

Shipbuilders Keppel Fels and Jurong Shipyard (a unit of Sembcorp Marine) have been alleged to be among several companies that paid bribes through intermediaries to win contracts for building 21 deep-water drilling vessels that cost about US$800 million each for Sete Brasil, a company set up by a group of Brazilian banks and Petrobras, according to testimony released on Friday by a Brazilian court.

Shares of Keppel Corporation traded at S$8.38 as at 10.41am on Tuesday, after opening at S$8.41, while those of SembMarine slipped by one Singapore cent or 0.347 per cent to S$2.87. SembMarine shares opened one Singapore cent higher at S$2.89 on Tuesday.

Nicholas Teo, a market analyst at CMC Markets, said in a note on Tuesday: "While these allegations are not new and have been refuted by both Keppel and SembCorp Marine, new revelations may come with the arrest of Marcelo Odebrecht, the biggest scalp so far in this brewing scandal. Looking at the chart of Keppel, the S$8.40 level looks vulnerable for a break after this third attempt at it. If this breaks, we may see the stock test S$8 next. Conversely, if S$8.40 continues to prove a strong support, we may see a rebound to S$8.56."

He added: "It may also be worth pointing out that neither Keppel Corp nor SembCorp Marine has announced any major rig orders of significance in this year to date, even as we are about to head into the second half of 2015!"

According to a Bloomberg report released on Tuesday, Keppel Corp and SembMarine - which refuted participation in the scheme in February, when testimony to police identifying them was released - have not responded to media queries following the latest allegations.

Keppel had said in a previous statement that employees are required to conduct themselves with integrity and in compliance with laws and regulations of countries in which it operates, while SembMarine said it did not make any illegal payments and the group's policies and contracts prohibit bribery and unethical behaviour in a statement in February.

UPDATE: Keppel FELS, Sembcorp Marine deny allegations of Brazil bribery