Sebastian AS Ulsteinvik starts company in China. The Joint Venture will initially get four or five employees and will do marketing and sales as well as being operative with consultancy services. - This is the time to invest, insists President & CEO Johannes Kristian Bjøringsøy. In March 2015 Sebastian AS established an office in Brazil.
Sebastian has worked with China the plans for one year. Now Bjøringsøy has signed the contract with Chinese partners about starting a Joint Venture in Shanghai. Based in offices there Sebastian China CO., LTD will be doing sales activity and be operative consultants; consultancy services and testing on board the vessels and floating offshore rigs. Sebastian China is responsible for China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan.
The person who will run the office, Yong Jiang ("Bill"), is in place and the process of adding three to four consultants are in good progress. Bill is Chinese, but has worked in Norway previously. He was handpicked by the Chinese Partners: - Bill understands the Norwegian way of thinking. Also he has a good sales personality - a likeable person customers opens up to, says Bjøringsøy.
Earlier this year he was on a 2-weeks marketing campaign with Bill around China visiting a number of shipyards and ship owners. He is optimistic about the Chinese market.
- The idea to invest in China came from China. It was the Chinese who contacted us after hearing about our expertise and capabilities. However, it is a deliberate strategy in Sebastian that we want to be represented abroad, and it’s all about finding the right partners. We believe in the future. China is a large country with the largest population in the world – and the market is huge with many shipyards. The last years it’s been almost impossible to achieve anything from China due to high travel expenses. We have seen some of our international competitors have been establishing offices in China and then we have to follow.
- It may seem strange that we are investing in China when times are bad right now, in particular in our industry. But it might turn out that this was brilliant, meditate Johannes Kristian Bjøringsøy. His optimism is based on the Chinese philosophy about long historical lines: - Our Chinese partners thinks long-term, as we’ve always done in Sebastian AS.
Last year Sebastian AS established an office in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and the company makes money there. The profit is not limited though but
Bjøringsøy is satisfied when it is known that many Norwegian companies have lost money in the country over the last years. The decline in the oil and gas industry has hit the entire world, and in Brazil the state oil company Petrobras in particular because of the serious corruption scandal under investigation. All companies and subcontractors are hit by a paralyzing refusal to make decisions because of fear for being alleged for corruption. In addition, Brazil has a political crisis since elected President Dilma Rousseff is replaced because she is facing an impeachment process.
- We feel that our man in Brazil has managed to build trust with the local customers, and thus building step by step, Bjøringsøy says.
But the difficulties in offshore has hit Sebastian here at home, and Bjøringsøy does not believe the downturn is over. He sees some bright spots. - We are optimists because we have things going on that I think we want to see results from later this year. And Sebastian China will give us a boost, he smiles.
With more than 20 years’ experience within the oil and the maritime industries Sebastian has gathered knowledge over a broad scale. The company staff has extensive experience in working in shipyards, mobile offshore installations and on board ships. In total, the company can boast a combination of engineering knowledge and captain’s experience guaranteeing a reliable and effective implementation of FMEA services (Failure Modes and Effects Analysis), which is one of Sebastian’s business areas.