Lloyd Werft Sold by Administrator for Genting HK Bankruptcy
Germany’s Lloyd Werft shipyard in Bremerhaven has been sold as the provisional insolvency administrators work to unravel Genting Hong Kong’s failed operations. On Saturday, the administrator in Germany announced that he had signed an agreement with two local German companies that in partnership will acquire and operate the yard after an intense bidding process between the two companies and a third bidder from the Middle East.
With its heritage stretching back to 1857, Lloyd Werft is one of the oldest shipyards in operation. The company has been at its current location in Bremerhaven, Germany since 1871. In recent years, the shipyard focused on overhauls and refits, including one of the leading yards working with cruise ships, and developed a business in the construction of luxury yachts.
Genting Hong Kong announced plans to acquire Lloyd Weft in the fall of 2015 as the company began its expansion strategy for its Crystal Cruises brand. Genting said it would spend €17.5 million for 70 percent of the shipbuilding business and 50 percent ownership of the shipyard’s land. Plans called for Lloyd Werft to build Crystal’s expedition cruise ships, but Genting later acquired shipyard assets in Eastern Germany forming MV Werften, which was set up to build the new cruise ships. Genting later suggested that it might close Lloyd Werft and was negotiating for the sale of the shipyard when the yard along with MV Werften filed for insolvency in January 2022.
Three bidders emerged for Lloyd Werft including the yacht company Al Seer Marine from the United Arab Emirates, which had been negotiating with Genting Hong Kong in 2021 for the acquisition of the shipyard. Two local German firms also entered the bidding. Heinrich Rönner Group is active in the shipbuilding and yacht businesses as well as hydraulic steelwork, heavy steel construction, and bridge construction. Zech Group focuses on three businesses in construction, real estate, and hotels.
The insolvency administrators were believed to prefer the bid from Al Seer, but late last week the two German companies combined to make the winning offer. German media is reporting that the final bid was between €20 and €30 million for the yard and its real estate.
The Lord Mayor of Bremerhaven welcomed the news saying that he was pleased that the shipyard would be controlled by local companies that they were familiar with and which had a strong presence in Germany. Mayor Melf Grantz noted the importance of the yard as a symbol of the region as well as an employer. He hoped that the trade union and works council would also support the acquisition.
Some sources are raising fears that the companies might not maintain the shipyard’s current workforce of approximately 230 people, but the new owners immediately denied the report that they would be reducing the workforce or operations of Lloyd Werft. Others noted that the companies since they were involved in construction could likely find work for employees from Lloyd Werft in their other operations.
A briefing for the employees was planned for Monday with the insolvency administrator and the new owners. The acquisition requires the approval of regulators.
The provisional insolvency administrator is due to meet with the courts in Germany in mid-March for the first hearing on the former assets of MV Werften. At the time of the shipyards’ filing, he said he expected a deal could be completed quickly for Lloyd Werft. Speculation continues that the three yards that made up MV Werften are likely to be sold separately with the administrator reporting that his focus was on finding a buyer for the 208,000 gross ton cruise ship Global Dream that was under construction when the company ceased operations.