With travel still severely restricted during the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly in Asia, the company has seen demand for huge cruise ships or luxury mega-yachts dwindle. The consequences of the corona crisis, especially for the cruise business, had put the shipyard in distress since 2020. According to the Federal Ministry of Economics, since Christmas there have been “several intensive talks” with Hong Kong-based Genting Group (Asian tourism and casinos giant) that owns both MV Werften and Lloyd Werft, on the Baltic Sea coast and in Bremerhaven on the North Sea respectively. From the perspective of the federal government, these ultimately remained unsuccessful because the group was not ready to contribute another 60 million euros in the short term. About 2,000 employees at the shipyards in Wismar, Stralsund and Rostock as well as thousands of employees at supplier companies and craft businesses are threatened with job loss. The Bremerhaven-based Lloyd shipyard with around 300 employees is also in poor shape. Last year Lloyd Werft was very much the center of media attention for the build of the 139m superyacht Solaris. The larger subsidiary MV Werften took the step after failing to secure funding for the completion of the “Global One” mega-liner, already 80% of the way through construction, according to the company. Designed to carry close to 10,000 passengers, the huge ship had been due to leave the shipyard in 2021 — but the pandemic has knocked the company’s timetable off course and crimped its budget.
Around €600 million ($680 million) is necessary to finance the completion of the vessel. The decision to declare bankruptcy came after lengthy discussions with officials in which the two sides “clearly have not found common ground,” a spokesman for MV Werften said shortly before the filing was made. The state asked Genting to put forward 10% of the capital, as government coordinator for the maritime economy Claudia Mueller said in a news conference. “On this issue there was no agreement between Genting and the federal government”.