Damen clashes with Romanian PM over Mangalia yard takeover

Dutch shipbuilding group is still confident it can take over Romania’s largest shipyard despite the deal hitting a serious snag last week.

Damen emerged last year as the party chosen to buy out a 51% stake in Mangalia, a large yard with a majority control held by South Korea’s Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME). DSME rocked by an accounting scandal and a huge drop in new orders has been offloading foreign assets as part of a restructuring.

In terms of size, Mangalia would be the largest shipyard facility controlled by Damen.

However, the Dutch company is not assured of taking the yard following news last week that the Romanian state wants to exercise its pre-emptive right over the 51% stake in Mangalia. The state already controls the other 49% stake not held by DSME.

Romania’s prime minister Mihai Tudose surprised Damen executives last week by saying on national television: “We have tried and it seems we will succeed, to get back 51% of Daewoo’s shares in the shipyard and we want to make use of the sale pre-emption right… We will have a state shipyard.”

Tudose continued: “It is not possible to have the Danube and the sea and not to have a shipyard.”

Damen executives however remain hopeful that they can still take over Mangalia.

“Currently we are finalising our deal with the Romanian government. There has been a delay in the process, but we are working towards a successful outcome,” a spokesperson for Damen told Splash.

Mangalia, founded in 1997, is spread over an area of 980,000 sq m, has three drydocks with a total length of 982 m and 1.6 km of berthing space, making it one of the largest shipyards left in Europe.

Damen already owns a shipyard in Romania, in Galati on the banks of the River Danube.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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