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Russian-Finnish joint venture acquires Helsinki shipyard

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putinRussian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has given his blessing to a deal that sees STX Finland Oy selling its Helsinki shipyard to new joint venture it has formed with Russia’s United Shipbuilding Corporation (USC). Though it is getting only a nominal Euros 1,250 for the yard, the deal holds out the prospect of orders to build icebreakers for Russia — which would be a lifeline.

Currently, the Helsinki shipyard has a contract with Color Line for the upgrade of Color Superspeed 1 that is expected to be completed at the end of January. The Helsinki shipyard has made significant temporary lay-offs and STX Finland has been negotiating permanent job reductions at the yard.

The new company, Arctech Helsinki Shipyard Oy, will specialize in arctic shipbuilding technology.

An agreement for the formation of the new company, was signed today in St. Petersburg in a meeting with the Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and the Finnish Prime Minister Mari Kiviniemi.

According to the agreement both founding companies will hold equal shares of Arctech Helsinki Shipyard Oy. The new company will purchase the Helsinki shipyard from STX Finland. According to the Russian Premier’s website, it will pay a nominal Euros 1,250 for the shipyard.

The joint venture with USC will focus on arctic maritime technology and shipbuilding and will unify Russian and Finnish Maritime clusters. It will start building highly specialized vessels such as icebreakers and other icebreaking special vessels. The joint venture also has an option to buy 20.4 percent of the shares of Aker Arctic Technology Inc. (AARC) from STX Finland. STX Finland will still remain the majority share holder of AARC, which is a world leading player in arctic maritime technology research and development.

Arctech Helsinki Shipyard Oy will be a 50/50 joint venture company owned by two of the largest shipbuilding corporations in the world. United Shipbuilding Corporation is the state owned Russian shipbuilding corporation, which was formed in 2007. The company has 42 shipyards in Russia and it focuses on developing the Russian civilian and military shipbuilding industry.

STX Finland belongs to the STX Europe group comprising 15 yards in Finland, France, Norway, Romania, Brazil and Vietnam and about 16,000 employees. The principal shareholder in STX Europe is the international industrial corporation STX Business Group in Korea employing some 54,000 people world wide.

The joint-venture agreement continues a long-running Russian-Finnish cooperation within the maritime industry. Finnish shipyards have delivered more than 1,500 vessels to Russia . Finnish shipyards have built 60 percent of all the icebreakers in the world including most of the Russian conventionally powered icebreakers.

“The joint-venture has great potential to utilize the best skills and knowledge from the world-class Russian and Finnish Maritime clusters in an effective way” says Juha Heikinheimo CEO of STX Finland. “The short distance and long term experience of cooperation between the countries will be realized in many forthcoming projects and will bring a lot of activity to Finnish-Russian maritime cluster . ” he continues.

“The joint-venture is a great example of cooperation between Finland and Russia. We believe that the new company will be a significant player in the arctic shipbuilding and the production of hi-tech ice-class vessels, and will meet the needs of developing of Russia’s Arctic shelf”, says Mr. Roman Trotsenko, President of United Shipbuilding Corporation.

December 10, 2010

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