Finance secured for more Meyer Longships
Financing has been secured for the building of another 10 Viking Longship inland cruise newbuildings at Germany’s Meyer Group and for the first time half of the order will be completed in Papenburg, reports Tom Todd.
The German Government-owned KfW IPEX-Bank in Frankfurt along with Switzerland’s UBS announced financing for the 135m long newbuildings. Construction has reportedly already begun on the ships following conditional contract signing last December. IPEX will put up 75% and UBS 25% for a total of €236 million over 8.5 years.
Parent yard Meyer Werft in Papenburg and subsidiary Neptun Werft in Rostock-Warnemuende are each building five of the ships, which carry 190 passengers in 95 outside cabins. They are 11.45m wide, draw 1.6m and are driven by diesel-electric hybrid propulsion systems. Solar panels feed power into onboard electric networks.
Neptun has built 23 inland cruise ships since 2002, 13 of them Longships for Swiss-based Viking Cruises. The latest order ensures full working in Rostock-Warnemuende for a year with the first two ships for delivery in January and the remainder by the end of March next year.
The order will also help Meyer fill available free capacity in Papenburg. Earlier this year it reported the transfer to Papenburg from Neptun of construction on the 115m, €124.4 million research newbuilding Sonne and one inland cruise ship.
The parent company is making efforts to increase productivity and cut costs by €51 million this year in a bid to win new orders, particularly over Far Eastern rivals. That follows a “dramatic slump” in new ship prices which Meyer itself has said has made it too expensive and led to the loss of contracts like a third 163,000gt newbuilding for CFI.A Meyer spokesman told The Motorship back in February it was the loss of the CFI contract that had prompted the yard to re-think its cost structures and to strengthen its ability to compete beyond 2015.
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