Shipbuilders in crisis: What next for the MV shipyards?

Status: 01/14/2022 2:20 p.m

There is still hope at the insolvent MV shipyards. The federal government promises help, but also demands a contribution from the owner. A first conversation was probably constructive.

In the struggle for a future for the insolvent MV Werften, it is still up to the owner. Because the federal government ties its aid commitments to the condition that the Malaysian-Chinese main shareholder Genting contributes 60 million euros to the rescue of the shipyards.

He has not yet made this commitment. In the meantime, however, the insolvency administrator has held an initial meeting with Genting, which took place in a “constructive atmosphere,” according to Hamburg lawyer Christoph Morgen, without giving any further details. Further talks are planned.

The Malaysian-Chinese group is still a possible customer for the cruise ship “Global Dream” built in Wismar. The huge ship, which can hold almost 10,000 passengers, is designed for the Chinese market. It is about 75 percent complete. However, around 600 million euros are still missing for the further construction, which would secure employment for months.

Lindner and Habeck blame Genting

Federal Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP) has promised the 1900 employees the help of the federal government. “We will make every effort to support the employees at the Wismar, Stralsund and Rostock locations in this difficult situation and to help give them perspective,” according to the newspapers of the editorial network Germany (RND) in a letter Lindners to the Chairwoman of the General Works Council, Ines Scheel.

According to RND, Lindner emphasized that state aid could in principle have been provided for the company via the Economic Stabilization Fund (WSF). However, this would have required a contribution from the owner, which did not happen. The owners and shareholders were also not willing to provide the federal government with adequate security to minimize the risk of default. “This attitude of refusal removed the basis for further state aid,” wrote the FDP politician and called the behavior of the owner “very regrettable”.

Federal Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) had previously accused the owner of the MV shipyards of having turned down the federal government’s offer of help, even though Berlin had pulled out all the stops to avoid the shipyards becoming insolvent. Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania has also promised help for the shipyards. Prime Minister Schwesig said the state could only help if the federal government did the same.

Cautious DGB boss

The chairman of the German Trade Union Confederation, Reiner Hoffmann, was surprisingly reserved in the morning. in the Deutschlandfunk he said, in the case of large passenger ships, it will only become clear after the pandemic whether the market is saturated. “But of course there are great alternatives. For example, in the transport of goods, we will continue to be dependent on shipping in the future.” It is therefore right that IG Metall is fighting to preserve the shipyards.

Together with the insolvency administrator, it is now to be explored to what extent the cruise ship “Global One” under construction can still be completed despite the insolvency proceedings that have been opened. It remains to be seen whether there will be a future for the MV shipyards with locations in Wismar, Rostock, Stralsund and Bremerhaven. The company with 1,900 employees filed for bankruptcy on Monday. The background is that the cruise business has slipped into crisis due to the pandemic.

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