Hurtigruten Sells Kleven Werft to Croatian Conglomerate DIV Group

Before the offshore downturn, Kleven Werft was a leading shipbuilder for high-end offshore vessels (file image courtesy Kleven Werft)

Published Jan 21, 2020 4:57 PM by The Maritime Executive

The Norwegian cruise operator Hurtigruten has sold its shipbuilder Kleven Werft to DIV Group, the owner of Croatian shipyard Brodosplit. 

"I am incredibly happy on behalf of all employees in Kleven that we are now in the process of acquiring a new and solid owner of the yard. Through a difficult period we have managed to deliver fantastic ships," said CEO Kjetil Bollestad. "Now we, together with new owners, will think long-term and develop further. This will be a new and exciting era for all Kleven employees."

Kleven has just finished delivering two high-tech cruise ships for Hurtigruten, which is both its customer and its owner. In 2017, Hurtigruten led an investor group to take a 40 percent stake in the yard, giving Kleven a boost during a period of financial difficulty. In 2018, Hurtigruten acquired 100 percent of Kleven Werft, which was at that point experiencing delays in delivering the two new vessels. 

Brodosplit competes in the same segment of the cruise ship market, and DIV Group expects to achieve synergies by combining the two companies' efforts. 

"I am most pleased that Brodosplit, which we managed to place extremely well in the segment for the construction of medium-sized and polar cruise ships, has found a business partner with whom they will be able to achieve top results," said Tomislav Debeljak, owner and CEO of DIV Group. "I also expect lower construction costs and significantly lower costs to finance new projects. The total savings that can amount to up to five percent will allow us not only to increase our profitability, but also competitiveness."

For Kleven, the sale means access to working capital and a pipeline of new projects after the completion of Hurtigruten's vessels. Kleven will retain its name and identity as part of the DIV Group portfolio. The agreement is expected to be implemented within the next few weeks.

"Several potential buyers have been assessed, and we are absolutely sure that DIV Group is the right owners for Kleven. No one else has been able to demonstrate such a safe and long-term plan for the yard. This is a perfect match," said Ola Beinnes Fosse, CFO of Kleven Verft.

DIV Group is a large family-held manufacturing conglomerate based in Croatia. Its historical roots lie in the manufacturing of bolts and screws, but it has owned shipbuilder Brodosplit since the yard's privatization in 2013.