The constellation of German shipyards built up by the now insolvent cruise operator Genting Hong Kong is gradually being sold for new purposes, and at a rapid pace.
The shipyard conglomerate MV Werften was formed in 2016 when Genting bought three shipyard locations from Nordic Yards, including locations in Stralsund, Wismar and Rostock-Warnemünde. Genting planned to use these sites to build his own cruise ships, meeting his needs for tonnage at a time when cruise shipyards’ order books were full. With the outbreak of the pandemic in March 2020, however, MV Werften had to shut down operations and Genting’s earnings suffered as a result. MV Werften eventually filed for bankruptcy in January 2022, triggering cross-default clauses that sent Genting Hong Kong into liquidation.
Based on the pace of development so far, the physical assets of MV Werften do not appear to be going into bankruptcy purgatory. The cabin module subsidiary of the Wismar shipyard, MV-Werften Fertigmodule Property GmbH, was taken over by the German life sciences company Eppendorf. The new owner plans to use the facility to manufacture specialty laboratory consumables from high-quality polymers, such as pipette tips. Production will start at the end of the year and the new owner plans to hire and retrain staff previously employed at MV Werften.
The Volkswerft in Mecklenburg-West Pomerania, which belongs to MV Werften, has been sold to the city of Stralsund, where the shipyard has long been a mainstay of the economy. The city paid $17 million for its 985-foot meeting hall and approximately 85 acres of space, and is constructing a multi-tenant “maritime industrial and commercial park” on the site. “We take the fate of our Volkswerft into our own hands,” said Stralsund’s Lord Mayor Alexander Badrow.
The city of Stralsund has already leased the main shipyard facilities to the Norwegian shipbuilder Fosen Yard A/S, which intends to use the Volkswerft site for new buildings, conversions and ship repairs. The hall can accommodate vessels up to 950 feet in length and has a boat lift capable of lifting up to 25,000 tons. Steel forming and fabrication company Ostseestaal has also leased part of the site for the manufacture of ship’s hatches and other components, according to local media.
MV Werften’s largest assets could become part of a grand plan to consolidate German defense shipbuilding. Oliver Burkhard, the CEO of Thyssenkrupp Marine Systems, recently told the world interview that TKMS intends to play a pioneering role in establishing a “German Champion” by merging with competitors and building up new capacities.
The new “champion” could include a combination of TKMS and Lürssen or German Naval Yards Kiel, he suggested, as well as the acquisition of new shipyard sites. The former location of the MV shipyards in Wismar is particularly interesting, said Burkhard. “The shipyard would be suitable for any form of additional orders, be it submarines or surface ships,” he told the world.