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Meyer Werft taps restructuring guru, expects to meet €550m loan payment

Meyer Group got a boost with the recent order of two additional Excel-class ships for Carnival Cruise Line. Pictured here in one of Papenburg's covered building halls is 2023's Carnival Jubilee
Meyer Werft hired restructuring guru Ralf Schmitz to help streamline the company's German operations and expects to have ample cash to meet a €550m loan due November.

Schmitz started last week as chief restructuring officer for the Papenburg yard and Rostock's Meyer Neptun. He is not involved in Finland's Meyer Turku.

Meyer Werft confirmed Schmitz's appointment to Seatrade Cruise News. It was first reported in 'Wirtschaftswoche' (Business Week).

Schmitz brings broad restructuring experience across the mobility, real estate, energy and retail sectors. Recently his name was associated with the planned restructuring of the €23b Signa Holding property group that co-owns New York's Chrysler building, but Schmitz ultimately declined that assignment.

Pandemic challenges

The family-owned Meyer Group is still fighting the COVID pandemic's aftermath. With existing orders delayed and few new orders coming in, Meyer Papenburg was forced to temporarily reduce its output to one large and one smaller cruise vessel per year. Inflation, steep energy costs and high labor prices in Germany are further challenges.

Meyer's situation was discussed in a closed committee meeting of the Lower Saxony Parliament earlier this month. Media speculated that a state guarantee for €550m loan due in November may have been debated, but Seatrade Cruise News was told no guarantee will be needed.

The loan is a routine framework credit provided by a consortium of private banks to finance the construction of several newbuildings. With the deliveries of Silver Ray in the coming months and Disney Treasure later this year, there will be sufficient cash to pay it back.

Separately, in spring 2023 Meyer arranged a €350m interim financing credit from a consortium of private banks, with the State of Lower Saxony providing the guarantee. That loan isn't due until 2029.

Recent orderbook boost

In the past two months, Meyer Papenburg won orders for two additional Excel-class ships for Carnival Cruise Line, bringing its book of business to six cruise ships, one research vessel and the steel construction for four offshore converter platforms. Rostock-based Neptun Werft has orders for 10 river cruise vessels due for delivery in 2025 and 2026.

And, in Finland, Meyer Turku is building three cruise ships.


Meyer Turku's orderbook includes the Icon series for Royal Caribbean International. Here, an Icon of the Seas model at Meyer Group's Seatrade Cruise Global stand

Besides Carnival Cruise Line, Silversea Cruises and Disney Cruise Line, ocean ships are coming for TUI CruisesRoyal Caribbean International and NYK Cruises.

Climate-neutral Avatar ship concept

One of Meyer Group's greatest strengths is technological prowess built up from its own research and development. During Seatrade Cruise Global the company presented Avatar, a climate-neutral cruise ship concept Meyer Turku aims to develop until 2025 with the goal of building starting in 2030.


Meyer Group created the climate-neutral Avatar ship concept at Seatrade Cruise Global

Among Avatar's innovations are novel galley concepts with automated logistics, alternative materials and sustainable stateroom design. A holistic approach extends across the ship's entire lifecycle, including material selection and recycling, part of the circular economy.

Broad cruise range

Another Meyer Group strength is its broad range of cruise-related products. In the context of presenting Avatar, Thomas Weigend, EVP sales, touted Meyer Group's ability to provide the entire cruise range, from river vessels to large oceangoing ships, complemented by new products like floating piers and terminals provided by Meyer Floating Solutions.