September 8, 2004
Aker Yards gets Ultra Voyager order, merges Finnish yards
Aker Yards made two major announcements today. It confirmed the order for a second Ultra Voyager cruise ship for Royal Caribbean International. And it announced that it will merge its two shipyards in Finland, Kvaerner Masa-Yards Inc and Aker Finnyards Inc.
The contract for the Ultra Voyager is valued at some Euros 570-580 million ($690-$702 million at today's exchange rate), making it the world's largest cruise ship order this year. Royal Caribbean noted that "despite adverse foreign exchange rates, building a sister ship [to the first Ultra Voyager] results in beneficial cost efficiencies and an all-in dollar cost that is essentially the same as the first Ultra Voyager."
The first Ultra Voyager cruise ship will be delivered in May 2006 and the second ship will be ready for delivery in spring 2007. The work on the first Ultra Voyager has already commenced. These new ships are some 15 per cent larger in space and passenger capacity than the earlier Voyager-class vessels.
The Ultra Voyagers will be 126 feet by 1,112 feet (38.6 meters by 339 meters), and will be 18 decks high. Their gross tonnage is around 160,000, which make them 6 % larger than today's largest cruise ship. The ships will carry 3,600 guests, 500 more than its predecessors in the Voyager-series, and 1,400 crewmembers.
"We are satisfied that we together with Royal Caribbean International and the subcontractors have been able to make this an attractive project considering the challenging euro-dollar conditions. Additionally, we are extremely proud of building these two giants for the cruise market," says Yrjo Julin, President of Masa-Yards. "Once again, we get to prove our expertise in shipbuilding by constructing not only one, but two of the largest ships of our time."
Julin is set for some busy times. As well as building the world's two largest cruise liners he is to lead the integration process of Kvaerner Masa-Yards and Aker Finnyards.
The new operative organization will become effective on January 1, 2005. Masa-Yards will acquire Aker Finnyards share capital and change its name into Aker Finnyards.The present Aker Finnyards will change its name into Aker Finnyards Rauma and function as a subsidiary to the new Aker Finnyards until next year, when the subsidiary will be merged with Aker Finnyards.
Julin will continue as President of Aker Finnyards. The management team will consist of Senior Vice President, Business Development and Shipbuilding Projects Bo-Erik Blomqvist; Senior Vice President, Finance Jyrki Heinimaa; Senior Vice President, Design Sauli Eloranta; Senior Vice President, Purchasing Jussi Voima; Senior Vice President, Production Erik Skogstršm, and Senior Vice President, Human Resources Marko Konu.
Bo-Erik Blomqvist will also act as Deputy to the President. He will also be responsible for marketing and males.
"The integration project teams will start their work already during this week," said Julin. "The new company will be fully merged by the turn of the year and Finland's three largest shipyard's will continue their work together as one company. The new Aker Finnyards will be a world leading designer and builder of cruise, ferry and technically complex vessels."
The new Aker Finnyards will be a part of Aker Yards shipbuilding group, which in addition to Aker Finnyards, includes yards in Norway, Germany, Romania and Brazil and which has a contract to manage the separately-ownd Kvaerner Philadelphia Shipyard.