New rescue package for troubled German yard

FSG in better times. New owner Lars Windhorst is hoping for their return.FSG in better times. New owner Lars Windhorst is hoping for their return.

A new rescue package just proposed for Germany’s insolvent  Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft (FSG) involves one former owner buying the yard and a second taking over an unfinished newbuilding, writes Tom Todd.

Lars Windhorst and several firms in his Tennor Holdings investment group will, pending approval, acquire the insolvent shipyard and all its assets on September 1st and retain 350 of its 650 employees. A purchase price was not disclosed.

Tennor already owned RoRo specialist FSG until it went into self-administered insolvency in April and an FSG statement said Windhorst was now honouring a pledge made at that time to stand by the yard.

Announcing his latest take-over proposal Windhorst said: “a difficult restructuring process lies ahead of us. If all those involved stand together, we will get through it.”

The 300 workers who Tennor is not currently able to keep on wiill be able to join an interim employment transfer company. The Motorship understands this is to be financed for six months by a second former owner of FSG – Norway’s Siem.

A reliable source told this correspondent that Siem, in return, will acquire ownership of Hull No. 774 – the unfinished €195 million RoPax ferry Honfleur – which is the only ship still left at FSG.

The source also said Lars Windhorst was seeking talks with Siem with a view to having Honfleur completed at the yard after all and told this correspondent that Windhorst thought there was a good chance of that happening.

Before it sold its ownership share in FSG last year, Siem helped finance the building of Honfleur. It is reported still interested in the ship’s completion and in the survival of the shipyard.

Brittany Ferries, which originally ordered Honfleur, unexpectedly cancelled the 42,000gt ferry in June because of delivery delays. That came just as the yard was planning to resume work on it. FSG says 11-12 months are needed to complete construction.

Unclear at present is the situation with Russian-owned, Hamburg-based shipyard Pella Sietas, which has been involved in talks with FSG about a possible purchase of the Flensburg facility.

At last word those discussions were continuing and apparently still on track. However the latest statement from FSG indicates that Pella Sietas may no longer be in the main frame. German media reports certainly support that view.

Current FSG Managing Director Martin Hammer said simply “we can… envisage completing projects with Pella Sietas in the future” but made no mention of ongoing negotiations or a takeover deal.

Official FSG Insolvency proceedings have in the meantime opened in Flensburg following the period of yard self-administration. The proceedings could last a long time and their outcome could well depend on current efforts to get FSG back on track.

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