Marine Log

November 23, 2006

Germanischer Lloyd Works Council slams BV bid

The Works Council of Germanischer Lloyd today said it has "vehemently rejected" the takeover bid for the classification society made by Bureau Veritas. And it called on the Germanischer Lloyd Executive Board to exercise its right to refuse to consent to a transfer of the company's registered shares should shareholders accept the Bureau Veritas offer.

Under German law, the Works Council (Betriebsrat) of a company is an elected panel that represents the interests of the workforce within the workplace, working with the employers as well as with trade unions and employer federations. The Betriebsrat has the right to be consulted in social, personnel and economic matters.

Germanischer Lloyd today held an extraordinary works meeting at which staff members were informed about the consequences of a takeover by the French competitor

The Works Council said that it was advised of the Bureau Veritas offer in a November 9 circular from the Executive Board.

The Works Council views the offer as a "hostile takeover" which it says "is and remains a frontal assault on the very existence of an enterprise."

"We must remind our stockholders about the heavy responsibility they will have to bear if they do decide to sell their shares and thereby break up a central pillar of the German and international maritime industry," says a statement issued by the Works Council today.

"Over the past few years," says the statement, "we have managed to build up a very successful position in Asia. And the course has already been set for GL's continued expansion in Asia. We really don't need BV to help us go forward! The truth is that BV wants to prop up its worldwide service network at our cost-- and also needs our know-how to do so."

"Ship classification is a mini-sector for BV, contributing only 11 percent to total turnover," notes the Germanischer Lloyd Works Council. "BV is extremely profit-oriented. In the view of the Works Council, safety and profit orientation do not go very well together."

The Works Council is calling on the Germanischer Lloyd Executive Board, "if the worst comes to the worst, to make use of its right to refuse consent to a transfer of the registered shares."

It says it trusts that the Executive Board "will make every effort to ward off this attack on GL's integrity" and calls on the Executive Board to" develop strategies that will render any future takeover attempt impossible."