Insolvency: bankruptcy with an announcement: Genting wanted to liquidate MV Werften at the beginning of 2021

Lim Kok Thay

The former Genting boss is said to have drawn up plans for the liquidation of the MV shipyards early on.

(Photo: dpa)

Berlin Despite all the assurances, Genting boss Lim Kok Thay is said to have sealed the end of the MV shipyards some time ago. A year ago, the management of the Asian travel and gaming group had already decided to wind up the shipyard group, as the shipbuilder’s insolvency administrator, Christoph Morgen, said on Wednesday. When reviewing the documents, he came across corresponding documents at MV Werften. “There is a plan for an orderly resolution of the shipyards that was drawn up a year ago.”

The papers are a surprise. Genting had actually acquired the shipyards with their locations in Wismar, Stralsund, Rostock and Bremerhaven in order to build cruise ships for its growing fleet. In the past six years, Lim Kok Thay’s conglomerate has invested several hundred million euros in the locations. He and other company representatives repeatedly asserted how important MV shipyards were for Genting.

Ultimately, it remained with assurances – and a high loss. Two weeks ago, MV Werften had to file for bankruptcy; the liquidation originally intended by Genting turned into bankruptcy. The investments are now gone – just like another approximately 600 million euros that Genting had already paid for the construction of the cruise ship Global One.

>> Read here: This is how casino billionaire Lim Kok Thay gambled at the MV shipyards

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With the bankruptcy application, Morgen is in charge of the shipbuilder from Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. The experienced lawyer tries to secure as many of the almost 2,000 jobs as possible and at the same time to pay off the debts that have accumulated. The process that has already been initiated is making his job more difficult, as the shipyard’s order book is practically empty.

Genting only wanted to finish building the “Global 1”, which is to be the largest cruise ship in the world with a passenger number of up to 9500 people. The sister ship “Global 2”, which had also already begun, was no longer to be built.

Internally, the end of MV Werften was justified by the corona crisis, which brought the cruise business to a standstill. As a result of the misery, Genting Hong Kong, the conglomerate’s tourism subsidiary, also had to file for bankruptcy with a court in Bermuda.

Despite the poor starting position, the insolvency administrator Morgen remains confident. “We could find short-term solutions for the locations in Bremerhaven and Stralsund,” he said. In both cases there are concrete interested parties.

Impending loss of state money

He also harbors hope that the Global 1 can be completed. “There are several serious interested parties for the ship,” he told Handelsblatt. Construction is well advanced. Around a quarter of the work is still necessary. He estimates the costs at around 600 million euros, which should be secured by a state guarantee if possible. The state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and the federal government have signaled their willingness to do so.

The German state and the banks would also get their money back along the way. According to Morgen, the amount adds up to around 645 million euros. From a threshold of around 1.2 billion euros, he can fully meet the claims. However, if the amount falls, the lenders have to write off part of it.

Lim Kok Thay of all people could play a decisive role in this. The previous Genting boss had signaled his interest in buying Global 1 to the insolvency administrator in a telephone call on Tuesday morning. Even if he was skeptical, Genting would remain the best customer, since the crusader was tailored to the needs of its customers.

More: MV-Werften-Mother Genting submits an application for settlement

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