Chinese eye insolvent Sietas yard

08 Oct 2013
Chinese life-line for German yard?

Chinese life-line for German yard?

A delegation from Chinese ship and crane builder ZPMC will visit German shipyard Sietas next week prior to deciding whether to make an offer for the bankrupt facility, writes Tom Todd

A spokesman for receiver Berthold Brinkmann told The Motorship the Chinese would also talk to Mr Brinkmann and members of the Hamburg state ruling Senate. He said Ludwig Reichert, the man appointed to head Sietas, has already visited ZPMC in Shanghai twice. Shanghai is the partner city of Hamburg.

Mr Brinkmann told German reporters Sietas had been talking to ZPMC for some time in the wake of the group’s insolvency in late 2011 and subsequent carve-up. He said the Chinese firm, which builds container cranes and the heavy load ships that carry them, had shown interest in Sietas’ specialised building capabilities. He was quoted as saying one model could be building prototypes in Hamburg for series building in China.

Sietas is currently building the 139m offshore turbine transport and installation vessel Aeolus for van Oord for completion early next year. The contract is reportedly worth more than €120 million.

Sietas has pinned its hopes on orders for such specialised ships since it pulled out of container and series newbuilding. Hamburg Economics Minister Frank Horch is visiting the U.S. and Canada later this month to promote further specialised orders for the yard.

Sietas still employs 150 while a further 123 are already in an employment transfer company. If the yard, more than 300 years old and the oldest private yard in Germany, is not sold by the end of the year, they will all lose their jobs. Reports said Sietas is in the red to the tune of more than €200 million.

Two of the three facilities in the Sietas Group were sold off after insolvency - the Norderwerft in Hamburg to the expanding Luerssen group and crane subsidiary Neuenfelder Maschinenfabrik (NMF) to Norway’s TTS. The planned sale of the main J.J.Sietas yard to the Dutch VeKa Group however did not go ahead.

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