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30% of jobs could go at Blohm+Voss as part of a major restructuring

PHOTO: Frederik Erdmann
Bleak days for Germany's leading repair and conversion shipyard in the cruise segment
Hamburg-based Blohm+Voss shipyard (B+V) with an impressive track record in cruise ship refurbishment, including the $132m re-mastering of Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 last year, is in financial difficulty with parent company Lürssen set to implement restructuring measures to try and secure its future.

Addressing an employees meeting Tuesday, representatives of the managing and advisory boards described the yard's situation as ‘very difficult’ and ‘critical’.

They announced far-reaching restructuring measures affecting all levels of the business, including a reduction of the workforce. About 300 of the 1,000 jobs may be cut in several phases.

B+V md, Dieter Dehlke, and chairman of the supervisory board, Dr. Klaus Borgschulte, gave the staff an appraisal of the yard's current status.

According to Borgschulte - a former head of the yard until 2007 - an analysis of the business following B+V's acquisition by Lürssen last autumn revealed much needed investment has been lacking in recent years.

Construction and production processes have not been sufficiently modernised, which has impacted on cost structures.

The situation is, according to Borgschulte, worsened by difficult market conditions.

‘B+V is in a critical condition,’ Dehlke added.

He said a package of measures drawn up in recent weeks needs to be implemented in the coming months in order to secure the future of B+V in Hamburg.

Optimisation in the defence/naval sector as well as the concentration of yacht refits awarded to the Lürssen Group are two elements aiming to support the Hamburg drydock’s capacity. Lucrative cruise ship refurb and refit work would assist any recovery.

B+V's announcement this morning is the second blow for Germany's shipyards within 24 hours: On Monday the management of Bremerhaven-based Lloyd-Werft also informed the workforce that 117 out of about 400 jobs will be cut.