Finnish government plans to join with Meyer Werft to buy STX Turku yard

12 May 2014
The LNG-fuelled cruise ferry ‘Viking Grace’ is among the recent deliveries from the Turku shipyard

The LNG-fuelled cruise ferry ‘Viking Grace’ is among the recent deliveries from the Turku shipyard

The Finnish government is understood to be in talks with Meyer Werft of Germany with a view to a takeover of the STX-owned Turku shipyard.

Reports by the Reuters news agency last week suggested that the move was prompted by a dispute within the ruling Social Democrat party, with a faction hoping to oust leader and finance minister Jutta Urpilainen. The government had previously faced heavy criticism for not providing a loan to the Turku shipyard, meaning that it lost an important cruise ship order along with several hundred potential jobs. Ms Urpilainen’s challenger, union boss Antti Rinne, has repeatedly slammed the government for failing to protect jobs in shipyards.

A government statement last week indicated that it could join with an industrial partner, namely the family-owned Meyer Werft of Papenburg, Germany, to take over the shipyard.

"Both parties are firmly resolved to the ongoing negotiations, but they are still at an early phase," said National Coalition party minister of economic affairs Jan Vapaavuori.

South Korean group STX Offshore and Shipbuilding had previously said it was looking to sell off some shipyards, having been badly affected by the shipping industry downturn. Some of its activities had previously been bought by the Italian Fincantieri group, so a sale of Turku to cruise ship specialist Meyer Werft would make a lot of sense. STX announced in 2013 that it was planning to close its Rauma yard in Finland and transfer activities to Turku.

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