June 7, 2009
Search starts for new Wadan Yards investor
Wadan Yards filed for insolvency in the District Court in Schwerin, Germany, on Friday. And already Mecklenburg Vorpommern state officials have been in contact with potential new investors, notably the Hegemann Group.
Wadan Yards includes the former Aker Yards shipyards in Wismar and Rostock-Warnemünde along with the former Aker Yards Ukrainian yard, which is now Wadan Yards Okean. Wadan is 70 percent owned by FLC West, a privately held investment company controlled by Russian investors Andrey Burlakov and Evgeniy Zartitsky. The other 30 percent is held by STX Europe.
The two German yards have been struggling throughout the financial crisis. In February Wadan Yards reported that it had received a €180 million credit facility provided through KFW IPEX-Bank Gmbh and Deutsche Bank AG and underwritten by the German Federal Government. €167 million of the federal money has already been disbursed.
The two German yards have 12 ships on order. The insolvency puts 2,500 shipyard jobs at risk and around 250 supplier firms wondering when they'll get paid.
State and federal officials appear determined to keep the yards--and their supplier base--in business. Though the Hegemann Group, whose operations include Volkswerft Stralsund and Peene Werft, was the first potential new investor to be contacted, others are being approached.
Meantime, Wadan Yards is now being supervised by a court-appointed insolvency administrator, Marc Odebrecht of Brinckmann & Partners. He has already said that May wages will be paid this week and that "we will continue to operate" so that a well-run shipyard is rapidly in shape to be handed over to an investor.