From its humble beginnings as a local ship repair yard, the Keppel Group has become one of the largest conglomerates in Singapore. Over the years, the Company has evolved into the current structure of focusing on three key businesses in Offshore & Marine, Infrastructure and Property.
Keppel Corporation was corporatised in 1968 (as Keppel Shipyard (Pte) Ltd), but its history spans more than a century. The name Keppel is derived from that of Captain Henry Keppel (1809 - 1904), a British ship 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, as well as privatised and integrated its offshore and 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's ability to survive and thrive with many notable achievements through the decades is because of its people. The perseverance and passion of the men and women, fondly referred to as Keppelites, are what makes Keppel. Our core of dedicated leaders, talented managers, as well as competent and committed workforce, are equipped and ready to grow Keppel into the future.