MV Werften's Assets Begin to Find New Owners
The constellation of German shipyards built up by the now-bankrupt cruise operator Genting Hong Kong is gradually being sold off for new purposes, and at a rapid clip.
The MV Werften shipyard conglomerate took form in 2016 when Genting bought three shipyard locations from Nordic Yards, including sites in Stralsund, Wismar and Rostock-Warnemünde. Genting's plan was to use these sites for the construction of its own cruise ships, filling its need for tonnage at a time when cruise yard orderbooks were fully booked out. However, with the onset of the pandemic in March 2020, MV Werften had to suspend operations, and Genting's earnings also suffered. MV Werften ultimately filed for bankruptcy in January 2022, triggering cross-default clauses that sent Genting Hong Kong into liquidation.
Based on the pace of developments to date, MV Werften's physical assets do not appear slated for bankruptcy purgatory. The Wismar yard's cabin-module subsidiary, MV-Werften Fertigmodule Property GmbH, has been snapped up by German life sciences company Eppendorf. The new owner plans to use the facility to make specialized lab consumables made of high-end polymers, like pipette tips. Production will begin by the end of the year, and the new owner plans to recruit and retrain workers who previously were employed at MV Werften.
The MV Werften-owned Volkswerft yard in the former East German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern has been sold to the city of Stralsund, where the yard has long been a mainstay of the economy. The city paid $17 million for its 985-foot-long assembly hall and about 85 acres of space, and it is setting up a "maritime industrial and commercial park" at the site with multiple tenants. "We take the fate of our Volkswerft into our own hands," said Stralsund Mayor Alexander Badrow.
The city of Stralsund has already leased the main yard facilities to Norwegian shipbuilder Fosen Yard A/S, which plans to use the Volkswerft site for new construction, conversions and ship repair. The hall can accommodate vessels up to 950 feet long, and it comes with a ship lift capable of hoisting up to 25,000 tonnes. Steel forming and fabrication company Ostseestaal has also leased a part of the site for use in manufacturing vessel hatches and other components, according to local media.
MV Werften's biggest assets could become part of a grand plan for the consolidation of German defense shipbuilding. Oliver Burkhard, the CEO of Thyssenkrupp Marine Systems, told Welt in a recent interview that TKMS wants to lead in the creation of a "German champion" by joining up with competitors and adding new capacity.
The new "champion" could include a combination between TKMS and Lürssen or German Naval Yards Kiel, he suggested, as well as the acquisition of new shipyard locations. MV Werften's former Wismar location is of particular interest, Burkhard said. "The shipyard would be suitable for any form of additional orders, be it submarines or surface ships," he told Welt.