Troubled German yard group gets cash

Global Class section assembly in RostockGlobal Class section assembly in Rostock

A €175 million emergency cash injection from banks and guarantors could keep German shipbuilder MV Werften afloat and preserve jobs until Berlin pandemic crisis assistance starts in the autumn, writes Germany correspondent Tom Todd.

The cash is coming from 17 banks and from guarantors who include the German Baltic state of Mecklenburg Vorpommern (MV), home of MV Werften’s three east German yards in Wismar, Stralsund and Rostock. They employ some 3,000 people.

A joint statement issued by MV Economics Minister Harry Glawe and Finance Minister Reinhard Meyer said MV Werften, owned by Genting Hong Kong, “must be able to continue to breathe. The main focus is to preserve jobs”, they said.

The interim emergency aid will enable the group to make ends meet, pay suppliers and avoid bankruptcy until September. That’s when MV Werften is hoping to draw on further help totalling some €570 million under a Berlin Government corona pandemic rescue programme.

MV Werften was forced to halt production at its facilities in March due to the coronavirus outbreak. As a result, the shipbuilder has been facing financial difficulties that could easily have resulted in bankruptcy without the new capital injection.

Hit by the pandemic shut-down and by the collapse of the cruise shipping market has been the production of the group’s first two showcase Global Class cruise ships.

Those 208,000gt newbuilds had been scheduled for delivery to Genting’s Dream Cruises late this year or early next year and in 2022. Of 96,000 kW installed power, each 342 x 46.4m ship will have six MAN 48/60CR diesels and three Azipod XO thrusters.

Also now affected by the production halt has been the follow-up new series of 88,000gt Universal Class cruise ships, the first of which had been for delivery late 2022.

It appeared unlikely that any of the newbuilds can still be built to schedule. However the emergency cash help now for the MV Werften group and the prospect of more help to come from Berlin in the autumn will have helped calm nerves and ease production difficulties. Reinhard Meyer described it as “A tailwind which could bring MV Werften into safer waters”.

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