Royal IHC’s Krimpen aan den IJssel yard.
A consortium of Dutch dredging and offshore shipowners and financial institutions have agreed to take over Dutch shipbuilder and equipment supplier Royal IHC. As part of the deal, the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy has set aside up to €400 million (US$432m) to ensure the continuity of operations at the shipyard.
The consortium includes HAL Investments, Ackermans & van Haaren, MerweOord and Huisman and includes Royal IHC’s existing syndicate of banks, including the three largest banks in the Netherlands.
The government financial support was conditional upon the consortium contributing towards refinancing Royal IHC. This support was not related to Covid-19, as minister Erik Wiebes confirmed in an official letter to the Dutch Parliament.
The agreement between the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Royal IHC to refinance the shipyard is does not expand the government’s existing exposure. It already is an important creditor of IHC through the country’s export credit insurance scheme. The agreement involves a short-term bridging loan and guarantee facility from the ministry, and an export credit insurance contribution from the Ministry of Finance.
The government support and that of the consortium represents a substantial boost for the whole of the Dutch maritime industry, given Royal IHC’s strategic importance for the maritime sector. Deliveries of vessels already booked will proceed, because of the help of both government and the new consortium. The deal also eases concerns over 3,000 workers positions at IHC, with jobs at suppliers also linked to the shipyard.
The deal has also seen changes at senior management level. The newly appointed interim CEO Gerben Eggink, who has succeeded Dave Vander Heyde, will have to strike a new balance between safeguarding work and proper earnings to avoid serious losses.
These changes may affect the projects undertaken by the shipyard. An official of the trade union CNV admitted that it may have been a mistake for the shipyard to become involved in costly projects. “But IHC also earned a lot by doing pipelayer projects for Petrobas in Brazil”, he said, as reported by The Motorship.