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Business

Arab investor interested in insolvent German shipyards

There's a ray of hope for eastern Germany's P+S shipyards which filed for insolvency last week. An Arab investor has voiced interest in the shipbuilding firm and wants to keep as many jobs as possible.

Die P+S-Werft in Wolgast, aufgenommen am 29.09.2012. Die P+S-Werften haben am Mittwoch (29.08.2012) beim Amtsgericht Stralsund einen Insolvenzantrag für die beiden Schiffbaubetriebe in Stralsund und Wolgast gestellt. Von der Insolvenz sind knapp 2.000 Beschäftigte direkt betroffen. Foto: Bernd Wüstneck/lmv

P+S-Werften in Wolgast

The Arab shipbuilding company Abu Dhabi Mar (ADM) voiced its interest in taking over the insolvent eastern German shipyards P+S, the German business daily Handelsblatt reported in its Monday edition.

"We have established contact to P+S and policy makers," said the chief executive of the Nobiskrug shipyard belonging to ADM, Susanne Wiegand.

"For us, the acquisition of both locations in the German towns of Wolgast and Stralsund makes perfect sense, and wed aim to safeguard as many jobs as possible," Wiegand added. At Wolgast, military and government vessels are constructed and repaired.

Fierce competition

The Handelsblatt said another investor, the Bremen-based Friedrich Lürssen Shipyard, was also interested in buying P+S, but said the company had set its sights on the Wolgast facility only.

Der vorläufige Insolvenzverwalter der P+S-Werften, Berthold Brinkmann (r), und der Geschäftsführer der P+S-Werften in Stralsund und Wolgast, Rüdiger Fuchs, sprechen am Freitag (31.08.2012) zu Journalisten. Die P+S-Werften haben beim Amtsgericht Stralsund einen Insolvenzantrag für die Schiffbaubetriebe in Stralsund und Wolgast gestellt. Foto: Stefan Sauer lmv

Will he save the shipyards? Insolvency specialist Berthold Brinkmann (right)

Baltic coast shipbuilder P+S declared insolvency last Wednesday after unsuccessfully seeking funding from the regional state of Mecklenburg-West Pomerania as well as the German federal government.

P+S had attempted for the past two decades to continue eastern Germany's shipbuilding traditions, but was eventually unable to compete with cheaper Asian rivals.

The bigger eastern German shipyard company Wadan with production facilities in Wismar and Rostock went bust in 2009 and had to lay off two thirds of its workforce of 2,400. It was bought by Russian investor Vitaly Yusufov.

The news agency DPA says in 1990 reunified Germany had 63,000 employees at shipyards along its Baltic and North Sea coastlines, including Bremen and Hamburg.

The number of shipyard jobs has since shrunk two-thirds to about 20,000. Turnover, including sales, remained level with 1990, however, at about 4.9 billion euros ($3.9 billion), as some firms switched to the construction of specialised vessels such as roll-on roll-off freighters and installation ships for offshore windparks.

hg/ipj (Reuters, AFP, dpa)