Early deals tipped for Genting and LWB

LWB faces newbuilding challenge LWB faces newbuilding challenge

A deal between Malaysia’s Genting Group and Lloyd Werft Bremerhaven (LWB) on a major shareholding could be clinched by the end of August, writes Tom Todd.

News that Genting is talking to the German yard about investment was revealed just days after the companies signed a letter of intent for five cruise ship newbuildings for group concern Crystal Cruises. Agreement on both the order and a shareholding involvement are widely expected by the end of August.

LWB managing director Rüdiger Pallentin told The Motorship: “We are very happy about Genting’s intention to join with us in taking the Crystal Cruise fleet to new heights. It is a big vote of confidence in Bremerhaven shipbuilding."

Discussions about a Genting shareholding, which unofficial reports say will be at least 25%, have been under way for some time. Pallentin was quoted as saying: “We have been negotiating intensively since April. I am very optimistic."

Genting head Tan Sri Thay Kok Thay told a televised news conference in Bremerhaven that investment could help create a new cruise shipbuilding industry in Bremerhaven. That’s something which industry observers are saying might mean competition for Germany’s giant cruise ship builder Meyer Werft.

There is speculation that Genting would like a majority holding in LWB but local labour expert Jochen Tholen has said a complete take-over appears unlikely given the yard’s capable and successful management team within the Petram Group.

Local observers believe however that a Genting involvement of some kind in LWB makes sense now given the letter of intent for three ocean-going cruise ships and two inland cruise newbuildings for completion from 2017.

Building costs have not yet been revealed, but enormous financial and facility back-up investment will be needed in Bremerhaven for what would be the biggest newbuilding contract ever for LWB and to re-jig what is currently a repair facility.

The last cruise ship built by the yard was Pride of America in 2004 and LWB nearly went bankrupt after that nearly-completed ship was badly damaged at berth during a storm.

The state of Bremen meanwhile has been quick to announce a €30 million investment in the renovation of an 800m long state-owned quayside adjacent to LWB. Officials said there was no time to lose and that the potential Genting order was an historic chance for Bremerhaven. 

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