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Genting-owned Lloyd Werft also files for insolvency

Just hours after MV Werften filed for insolvency, Lloyd Werft Bremerhaven — likewise controlled by Genting Hong Kong — took the same step.

Bremerhaven District Court confirmed this Monday afternoon.

Per Hendrik Heerma was appointed insolvency administrator; he has experience from the same role for Elsflether Werft.

Lloyd Werft's future is unclear but leaves room for hope as sales negotiations for the yard were underway even before the filing, and several parties are reported to be interested in an acquisition. 

Genting took control in 2016 

In 2015/16, Lloyd Werft, which dates back to 1857, became Genting's venture into Germany's shipbuilding industry. The company paid €17.5m in September 2015 to acquire a majority stake before taking full control in January 2016 then two months later acquired the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern shipyards which later became MV Werften.

Lloyd Werft's fortunes have been very mixed since the takeover. Initially, Genting's plan to develop the yard as a specialist in prototypes as well as conversions and repairs sparked hope. In summer 2016 it was also stated that Lloyd Werft could serve as a back-up to support MV Werften's ambitious newbuilding program. 

In early 2017, however, it was announced that Lloyd's approximately 400-strong workforce would be reduced by 117 and €12m was paid into a severance package.

Luxury yachts, cruise refurbishments

After this restructuring Lloyd Werft focussed increasingly on building luxury yachts, but it also won quite a number of contracts for regular docking as well as upgrades and interior conversions of cruise vessels.

Last February it became known Lloyd Werft was for sale or would be closed by the end of the year, Genting having expressed the desire to concentrate its activities in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.

Last autumn it was decided to shutter the yard by the end of March 2022 if a buyer was not found.

Bremerhaven-based Heinrich Rönner Gruppe has been among the interested parties but Seatrade Cruise News understands Rönner regarded the asking price as too high. It was also rumoured that foreign interests have already signed a letter of intent to acquire a 50% stake.

Lloyd Werft has about 300 employees today.   

Insolvency could ease the way for a sale 

The insolvency proceedings could actually help force a sale, probably at a lower price than asked by Genting so far.

A local source told Seatrade Cruise News Rönner Group might still be interested, adding that after the experiences with Genting at Bremerhaven and in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, most workers would prefer going to a German owner than a foreign investor.

Heinrich Rönner Gruppe is a German family-controlled venture, believed financially sound and with a good reputation. The group comprises more than 20 subsidiaries and production facilities with some 1,400 workers, including about 200 trainees. About 500 jobs account for activities in the Bremen federal state.

Recently Rönner expanded by acquiring the steel manufacturing division of Rendsburg-based Nobiskrug Werft, another German shipyard which had filed for insolvency. The 27 staff working in the acquired division were retained. 

German shipbuilding in restructuring 

The insolvency filings for MV Werften and Lloyd Werft sent shockwaves through Germany's maritime sector on Monday, although they weren't entirely unexpected and Lloyd Werft's insolvency has to be seen in the context of MV Werften's filing.

Nevertheless, Germany's shipbuilding industry is getting thinner by the day: Only last summer Hamburg-based Pella Sietas, one of the world's oldest shipbuilding ventures, filed for insolvency. The yard's fate is yet to be decided, but a future in shipbuilding there appears ever more unlikely. Most workers have been let go.

The insolvent Elsflether Werft was initially sold to Lürssen in 2019 but closed just a year later. Nobiskrug GmbH, likewise insolvent, was acquired by Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft last year. That yard is today controlled by a company owned by the German investor Lars Windhorst – who, in turn, rescued Flensburger from the brink of insolvency in 2019.

With today's filings, it appears the consolidation of Germany's shipbuilding sector is far from over.