Aker Yards and ALSTOM will join forces in shipbuilding, seeking to create a shipbuilding leader focused on high value added ships, including cruise ships. The companies plan to establish a new company consisting of the shipyards in Saint-Nazaire and Lorient.
Aker Yards will
own 75 percent of the new company, and ALSTOM will keep the remaining 25 percent until 2010. Aker Yards currently has 13 yards in five countries.
The new company will offer some unique synergies, particularly on the cruise market segment, where Italy’s Fincantieri has dominated in recent years. The combined French and Finnish builders have produced a number of world class cruise ships through the years, including icons such as SS France, Queen Mary 2, the Voyager class and the Freedom class ships. Aker Yards will be in a position to fully leverage Chantiers de l'Atlantique's large industrial capacity in cruise ships and naval vessels in Saint-Nazaire.
"By joining the forces of Chantiers de l'Atlantique and Aker Yards, we can create a unique position in the shipbuilding industry, ready to meet the ever increasing needs of tomorrows' demanding cruise passengers,” said Karl Erik Kjelstad
, President & CEO of Aker Yards.
Aker Yards will pay $60.4 million for the 75 percent stake. Depending on the financial performance, the remaining 25 percent will be sold to Aker Yards for up to $151 million in 2010. An estimated $423 million will be injected by ALSTOM into the newly formed company.
"The yard in Saint-Nazaire has a long tradition in building complex and specialized vessels, with state of the art technology
, modern facilities and a very competent staff,” said Patrick Boissier, President of ALSTOM Marine. “I do believe that a strong and fruitful combination between Chantiers de l'Atlantique and Aker Yards can be achieved."
The proposed transaction is subject to a number of conditions, including finalization of the agreement between the parties, the effective setting-up of the new company, the requisite financing for the new company's activities, the authorization of the European authorities, the information/consultation of the work councils, confirmatory due diligence and other relevant conditions. It is expected to be concluded by the end of March 2006.
The transaction would be carried out as a "Sale of Assets" from Chantiers de l'Atlantique to Aker Yards. The LNG tankers under construction at Saint-Nazaire are not a part of the transaction. The LNG vessels would be completed by the new company as a subcontractor to Alstom. Apart from the LNG vessels, the current order book, mainly consisting of four cruise vessels would be included in the transaction.