ELSFLETH, LOWER SAXONY, GERMANY (30 October 2019) – Elsflether Werft AG’s creditors’ committee has given the green light for the shipyard to be sold to Bremen-based Lürssen-Werft. After the purchase agreement between Elsflether Werft and the Lürssen Group was signed and notarised on the evening of 27 October 2019, the contract became subject to approval by the creditors’ committee and coordination with a government client on a transfer of contracts concerning restoration work on the Gorch Fock. The shipyard in Elsfleth had been the main contractor commissioned to repair and upgrade the famous training ship for aspiring German Navy officers. The creditors’ representatives had exclusively tasked FalkenSteg Corporate Finance with implementing the M&A process.
The Lürssen Group will take on all 130 or so employees working at the shipyard. The group, which specialises in the construction of naval ships and yachts, is one of Germany’s leading shipbuilding companies. It sees the purchase of the Elsflether Werft as an “addition to our smaller naval-unit repair portfolio”.
“We’ve successfully been able to sell the Elsflether Werft to a respectable German shipyard group. This is an excellent solution for both the creditors and the employees. At the same time, the authority that had contracted the shipyard will also benefit, as it will be possible to continue with the repair work on the Gorch Fock school ship. It’s quite fitting that the yard where the ship was built – Blohm+Voss in Hamburg – is now also part of the Lürssen Group”, explains Pieter Wasmuth, chairman of the supervisory board at Elsflether Werft AG.
“This deal will give a long-term boost to the local economy in the lower Weser region. The maritime expertise of our highly motivated workforce will be retained, and our highly trained employees will be an asset to the Lürssen Group”, says Dr Axel Birk, a member of Elsflether Werft AG’s executive board.
“This is an important step for the ongoing insolvency proceedings – as a result, the continued operation of Elsflether Werft AG is proving to be advantageous for creditors as well as for our customers and staff. This will ensure a confident future for the company”, says Dr Tobias Brinkmann, executive manager of Elsflether Werft AG and a practising lawyer specialising in insolvency law.
Since late 2015, the Gorch Fock has spent most of her time on dry land. The cost of overhauling the three-mast ship spiralled from the planned €10 million to €135 million. At times, there was even talk of scrapping the Gorch Fock altogether.
Shortly after a change of management at the shipyard in Elsfleth, arrangements were made on 20 February 2019 for insolvency proceedings under debtor-in-possession management pursuant to Section 270a of the German Insolvency Statute (InsO). Public prosecutors in Hamburg and Osnabrück had begun investigations in the lead-up to the insolvency after suspecting a betrayal of confidence.
Dr Per Hendrik Heerma from law firm FRH Rechtsanwälte was appointed as the (preliminary) debtor-in-possession administrator. Proactively initiating this self-administration process and immediately launching a structured M&A process ensured that work could continue on various contracts, including the Gorch Fock repairs.
Elsflether Werft AG
Dr. Axel Birk (Executive Board)
Pieter Wasmuth (Supervisory Board)
FRH Fink Rinckens Heerma Rechtsanwälte
Dr. Per Hendrik Heerma
Brinkmann & Partner
Dr. Tobias Brinkmann (Executive Manager)
CMP Crisis Management Part Consulting
Dr. Stephan Hansknecht
FalkenSteg Corporate Finance
Jonas Eckhardt (Partner)
Florian Weingärtner (Associate)
Stephan Friedrich (Director Lürssen Repair GmbH)
Dr. Anastasia Konnova-Reschke (Investment Manager Lürssen Industriebeteiligungen GmbH & Co. KG)
Dietmar Janssen (Director Neue Jade Werft GmbH – Lürssen Gruppe)
This family-owned company, based in the Vegesack district of Bremen, specialises in the design and manufacture of yachts and naval and coastguard vessels. The new-build segment also includes extensive aftersales service, including repairs, refits, maintenance and global logistics services. Before taking over Elsflether Werft, the group of companies maintained six highly specialised shipyards in Bremen, Hamburg, Mecklenburg-West Pomerania, Lower Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein.