Meyer/Finland talks: a refreshing change

03 Sep 2014
Finland talks make sense as Bernard Meyer repeats Asia warning

Finland talks make sense as Bernard Meyer repeats Asia warning

Meyer Werft talks with the Finnish Government about the possible acquisition of STX Oy and its cruise ship building facilities in Turku were still going on when 'The Motorship' went to press, says Tom Todd.

In June Meyer reported “meaningful progress” at the talks and said it hoped to “achieve a final settlement soon”. All the signs were that agreement would be reached which presumably would mean a German take-over of a yard in another country. That would indeed make a refreshing change, coming after two more prominent German shipyards – Sietas and Volkswerft – joined those controlled by foreign groups.

Three of the four former major GDR yards - in Wismar, Warnemuende and in Stralsund - as well as J.J. Sietas in Hamburg are now owned by Russian groups.

A Meyer acquisition of Turku would make sense in the light of regular warnings from Bernard Meyer about Asian competition in the cruise ship sector. He warned again in January that competition was still growing and that to continue to combat this pressure Meyer Werft “cannot exclude closer co-operation and partnerships with other European shipyards”.

Mr Meyer added that candidates for such co-operation would “need to have special technological know-how of and experience in building big cruise ships, ferries or offshore and research ships”. Turku appears to tick all the boxes.

Although there was no further word on progress at the talks as The Motorship went to press, there was some unconfirmed speculation in German ship equipment industry circles of potential orders for two 200,000gt ships, which might be built in Turku and could just be part of the negotiating equation.

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