Andrew Forrest again beefs up stake in shipbuilder Austal

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Daniel NewellThe West Australian
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Tattarang chief investment officer John Hartman has previously hailed the Paddy Gregg-led shipbuilder as “a leading example of Australian ingenuity”.
Camera IconTattarang chief investment officer John Hartman has previously hailed the Paddy Gregg-led shipbuilder as “a leading example of Australian ingenuity”. Credit: Supplied

Mining billionaire Andrew Forrest has again topped up his stake in WA-headquartered shipbuilder Austal, bringing his voting power to almost 8 per cent.

The Fortescue Metals Group founder’s private investment company Tatterang has been busy since last October increasing its stake in Austal, which is based in Henderson where it builds commercial ferries and patrol boats for the Australian navy.

It also has shipyards in Vietnam, the Philippines. and in Alabama in the US where is has been a long-time contractor for the US Navy.

In a statement to the ASX on Wednesday, Austal said Tattarang had purchased another $7,313,600 worth of shares between May 18 and 20, taking its voting power in the company to 7.567 per cent.

Austal’s latest substantial holder notice came just over a week after Tattarang made another purchase of $10.8m in shares.

Tattarang chief investment officer John Hartman has previously hailed the Paddy Gregg-led shipbuilder as “a leading example of Australian ingenuity”.

The Austal investment is one of among more than $35 billion in Tattarang’s portfolio, which includes stakes in Bega Cheese and property holdings across WA and in Byron Bay and Lizard Island.

Most recently Tattarang snapped up Carillon Arcade in Perth’s CBD for a reported $80m amid plans to turn it into a world-class shopping destination.

Mr Forrest’s well-known advocacy of green technology fits with Austal’s recent work to retrofit vessels to comply with environmentally friendly customer requests, as well as building battery-powered ferries and examining alternatives to diesel fuel.

Austal shares closed yesterday at $1.97.

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