Concern in Hamburg too about lost jobs if Pella acquires FSG.
In an unexpected about-turn, Brittany Ferries has cancelled its order for the €195 million ferry Honfleur – just as work was due to resume on the unfinished RoPax newbuild at insolvent German shipyard FSG, reports Tom Todd.
Plans had already been announced by the yard, closed since March, to resume operations this month and to start finishing the delayed 42,000gt Honfleur – the only ship remaining at FSG. At the same time “good negotiations” had been reported with Brittany Ferries and other potential financial partners.
Just last week, FSG announced the recall of its “entire workforce from short-time working” – some 650 people at last word – and said it was working on and offering new projects. A spokesman later told this correspondent they “were exclusively shipbuilding projects” as well as jobs to get FSG up and running again after the lock-down.
The sudden and unexpected termination now of Honfleur is a major blow to Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft. It comes less than a fortnight after Irish Continental Group (ICG) confirmed rumours it had also cancelled an order with FSG for a newbuild for Irish Ferries.
Talking of Honfleur now, the FSG’s chief representative Stefan Denkhhaus said “We just cannot understand the customers’ decision and the termination has come as a surprise”, he said.
Reporting that another 11-12 months were needed to complete Honfleuer Denkhaus added that “the customers themselves have already said that, by their own admission, they are dependent on this ship”.
FSG says it owns the unfinished Honfleur and believes it can only be completed at the yard. “The risks involved in completion at another yard are … incalculable”, said yard MD Martin Hammer.
In the case of the Irish newbuild however, the ICG paid a deposit of 20% or €33 million on the ship and that has reportedly now been returned.
Talks on a merger between FSG and Hamburg-based Pella Sietas reported remain on track meanwhile. “We are confident that we can together work out a strategic future concept for the FSG” said one Flensburg official.
There is however already concern in Flensburg about lost jobs if Pella acquires FSG. Now officials in Hamburg are also worried over possible job losses at the Pella Sietas yard site there if the owner moves house. Pella Sietas employs 200 on the Elbe.