Keppel Corporation touches lives in more than 30 countries around the world. Its commitment to excellence in executing its multi-business strategy is supported by its core competencies and unwavering focus on risk and business continuity management, technology development, workplace safety and health as well as environmental protection. Beyond striving for strong financial results, the company enhances shareholder value through prudent management, sound policies and high standards of corporate governance. It continues to expand its presence in existing markets while penetrating new ones by leveraging both the Keppel brand equity and the group’s strong global network for new business opportunities. It has positioned itself to capture value by offering comprehensive solutions that draw on the complementary strengths of each business.
Blaze to brilliance
Keppel was corporatized in 1968 (as Keppel Shipyard Pte Limited), but its history spans for more than a century. The name Keppel is derived from Captain Henry Keppel (1809 – 1904), a British captain who first arrived in Singapore in 1848. He not only discovered a natural, deepwater harbour at Tanjong Pagar, where Singapore Harbour is situated, but also recognised its value. The harbour was called New Harbour until 1900, when Henry Keppel, by then a 92-year-old Admiral, visited Singapore again. In his honour, the acting governor of Singapore, Sir Alexander Swettenham, gave the harbour a new name – Keppel Harbour. In the 1970s and 80s, Keppel embarked on regionalisation and diversification efforts. The first overseas venture took place in 1975 when Keppel Philippines Shipyard was set up in partnership with Filipino investors. Three years later, the company forayed into financial services to provide factoring to marine contractors. Shin Loong Credit (renamed Shin Loong Finance) propelled the growth and expansion of this division to include insurance and securities. Keppel ventured into property development in 1983 when it acquired Straits Steamship Company, an established shipping company with substantial land holdings in Singapore. In 1989, the company was renamed Straits Steamship Land to reflect the property focus. It was eventually renamed Keppel Land, which is one of Asia’s premier property companies today. The non-property businesses were grouped under Steamers Maritime Holdings (Steamers).
With the acquisition of Asia Commercial Bank in 1990, Keppel established the banking and financial services as a major pillar of growth. Renamed Keppel Bank, the successful acquisition was listed in 1993. Re-positioned for the telecommunications business, Steamers (now Keppel Telecommunications & Transportation) spearheaded the group’s participation in M1 in 1997. During the same year, Keppel Bank acquired Tat Lee Bank resulting in an enlarged bank called Keppel TatLee Bank.
In 1999, Keppel Shipyard moved its operations from Keppel Harbour to Jurong. This move marked the consolidation of the Keppel Group’s offshore and marine activities in yards around Tuas, Gul and Benoi, which were in proximity to one another.
Keppel Shipyard’s move out of Keppel Harbour freed prime land that now makes up Keppel Bay. Jointly developed by Keppel Corporation and Keppel Land, Keppel Bay has become a world-class waterfront precinct offering premier homes.
At the turn of the century in 2001, Keppel divested its banking and financial services business and privatised and integrated its offshore & marine business. Keppel Shipyard, together with Keppel FELS and Keppel Singmarine, were integrated to become the Keppel Offshore & Marine group in 2002. In 2001, Keppel also embarked on a strategic exercise to streamline its diverse portfolio and focus on three key businesses. Business units engaged in engineering services, power generation, telecommunications and transportation, and logistics and network engineering, were brought together under the infrastructure division.
The company believes that its ability to survive and thrive with many notable achievements through the decades is because of its people. The perseverance and passion of its work force fondly referred to as Keppelites, are what makes Keppel. The dedicated human resource at Keppel is well equipped to handle future road blocks as the company embarks on a growth trajectory.
Engagement that Enthralls
Keppel’s all inclusive people approach builds a strong and diverse talent pool to drive their businesses. The company believes in investing in people thereby building a passionate and competent team through identifying and developing talents, encouraging work-life balance and instilling a strong culture of safety and excellence. Through training and development programmes, scholarships, internships and sponsorships of diverse activities and events, Keppel tries to enrich the lives of people and beneficiaries.
While creating value for the shareholders, it takes utmost care for the people, environment and communities in which it operates. The multi-faceted approach towards corporate social responsibility encompasses caring for the environment, promoting public policy research and education, supporting the arts, green and safety initiatives, charitable and community activities, as well as encouraging corporate volunteerism. The Keppel Volunteers make the difference in the community through lending their time, efforts and talents to a variety of charities involved with education, the environment and elderly care.
Keppel Corporation has not only diversified into multiple entities, it has always tried to unlock value by investing in newer businesses like k1 Ventures and M1 Limited through Keppel Telecommunications & Transportation. k1 Ventures is a diversified investment company with stakes in companies across key diverse sectors of transportation leasing, education, oil and gas exploration, and automotive retail to maximise returns for shareholders. M1 is a leading integrated communications service provider in Singapore, with more than 1.7 million customers. It provides a full range of voice and data communications services over its 2G/3G/3.5G network, as well as fixed and mobile broadband.
Keppel Corporation wants to be the provider of choice for solutions to the offshore & marine industries, sustainable environment and urban living. The company wants to develop and execute its business profitably, with safety and innovation, guided by its three key business thrusts of sustaining growth, empowering lives and nurturing communities.
1. Keppel Shipyard Pvt Ltd was formed followed by corporatisation of the Dockyard Department of the Port of Singapore Authority managed by British ship repair group, Swan Hunter.
2. The group acquired 39% interest in listed Far East Shipbuilding Ltd (renamed FELS in 1972), increasing its stake in company to 61.3%.
3. Singaporeans took over Keppel’s management. While developing a major shipyard in Tuas, Keppel Philippines Shipyard was set up in partnership with Filipino investors.