Consolidation in Polish Shipbuilding Industry?
 
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Consolidation in Polish Shipbuilding Industry?

      10/3/2002

Stocznia Szczecińska Nowa (SSN), the successor of the bankrupt shipyard in Szczecin (Poland), launched its first ship on 21st September. The container ship “Katharina” was built on order from a Hamburg ship operator belonging to the Peter Dohle shipping group. Stocznia Szczecińska Nowa has recently re-employed 2,600 people from the bankrupt Stocznia Szczecińska. SSN, which is owned by the Industrial Development Agency (ARP), has received credit guarantees to the tune of zl.300 million (approx. US$72 million) to complete three ships ordered from the old Stocznia Szczecińska.

ARP President Arkadiusz Krężel said that two years should be enough to bring about recovery at SSN. This means developing production and increasing employment to up to 5,500, in addition to rebuilding bank confidence. The agency will later phase out its involvement in the shipyard.A recent debate on the future of the Polish shipbuilding sector evolved around the idea of combining the Stocznia Gdynia Group, Stocznia Szczecińska Nowa and H. Cegielski-Poznań plant, a producer of ship engines, into a single entity. "Consolidation should apply to healthy businesses, if at all. At the moment, we're dealing with several sick patients that could make up a hospital, not a sound business," Krężel said.Regardless of these companies' condition, the problem is to guarantee working capital for the new structure at a level of $1 billion. "In Poland, no bank would be able to handle such a burden," Krężel said. However, in his opinion, restructuring might eventually bring about consolidation in the shipbuilding sector.


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