Fincantieri to shut down Vard’s Aukra shipyard
In the meantime, the lack of new orders will result in the dismissal of workers within December
Besides a 90 million euro capital increase, Fincantieri is planning another equally drastic measure to help its subsidiary Vard recovering from the weakness of the oil&gas market affecting its production of offshore units.
According to several Norwegian newspapers, this measure will affect the Aukra plant, one of the five plants within Vard’s production network in Norway (besides Langsten, Søviknes, Brattvaag and Brevik). In fact, the 80 workers of the plant will be dismissed by December (after the last deliveries between November and December, the shipyard will not have new orders), and the shipyard will be either disposed of or divested. According to the newspapers, they are already negotiating to dispose of the infrastructure, while workers might be reinstated in the other Norwegian plants of the group.
Fincantieri explained that Vard’s Aukra plant – being one of the smallest in Norway, near Alesund headquarters and recently dealing mainly with the construction of aquaculture units – will be either transferred or divested, and that these solutions fall within a restructuring plan for Vard’s offshore activities aiming at recovering marginality. However, the group also added that negotiations, concerning both the fate of workers and that of the infrastructure itself, are not concluded yet, therefore there are no certainties.
In 2017, Vard had recorded a loss of around 24 million euro while, according to TradeWinds, it closed the 2018 financial year with a loss of some 200 million. Last summer, referring to the necessary capital increase for its subsidiary, Fincantieri had ascribed the negative trend of the past year mainly “to the offshore and special ships sector, which was affected both by a weak oil&gas market” and by “the complexity and heterogeneity of the units under construction”.
This probably referred to expedition cruise ships, since the shipyard started building this type of vessels to compensate for the difficulties of the offshore sector. However, given the difficulties that it this segment had to face (the delay in the delivery of the units Hanseatic and Hapag Lloyd Cruises), in its last half-yearly report as of 30 June 2019, Fincantieri referred to the “low profitability of several projects of Vard’s Cruise business unit”.