Two of Singapore's main shipbuilders, Jurong Shipyard Ltd. and rival Sembawang Holdings Pte., are working with Soviet partners to build floating hotels in Moscow at a cost of US$70 million.

The Soviet side will hold 50 percent of the joint venture, with Jurong having 40 percent and the Sembawang Bethlehem unit of Sembawang Shipyard Ltd. the remaining 10 percent. A hotel chain will participate in the joint venture at a later date.Working with the Singapore companies are the Moscow city hotel association; the Moscow River Shipping Co.; Expocenter, which handles exhibitions in the country, and Sudoimport, the foreign trade organization.

S. Chandra Das, Jurong shipyard chairman, said Friday the first target of the joint venture is to build and operate two floating hotels of five-star international standard. They will be moored on the Volga in the heart of Moscow.

The two hotels, each with accommodations for 400, will be built in Singapore, then towed to Moscow via the Black Sea and up the Volga. They will cater to business travelers, offering facsimile, telex and telephones and general office equipment.

"The concept of floating hotels was first mooted at the end of 1988. Since then, all parties have discussed, researched and refined a basic agreement of international quality," Mr. Das said.

"The formation of this joint venture will mark the start of a new era of business cooperation between our two countries. This will serve as a foundation for business development and will lead to more business ventures in the future."

He described the undertaking as a milestone for the Singapore companies and a beachhead for penetrating the Soviet tourist industry, which is seen as having vast potential for development.

Sembawang Bethlehem was responsible for building the world's first floating hotel, the John Brewer, originally for offshore Australia. It now operates in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) in Vietnam.