New ownership puts Blohm & Voss back on track to build big, custom superyachts


Blohm & Voss hosted a reception in London last night to announce its return to superyacht construction. Under the ownership of Thyssenkrupp, for various reasons (among them organisational difficulties and loss of appetite) Blohm & Voss had not been allowed to take on new superyacht construction since 2008, but with the acquisition of Blohm & Voss Industries, Blohm & Voss Repair and Blohm & Voss Shipyards by British private equity firm Star Capital Partners, the German yard is back on track to do what it does best - building big, custom yachts.

Blohm & Voss Shipyards and Repair CEO Dr Herbert Aly explained how the Blohm & Voss businesses and brand would go forward, with the Shipyards concentrating on new build superyachts over 80m, while the Repair business undertakes more commercial repair and conversion work including cruiseliners and offshore vessels, with both Shipyards and Repair undertaking yacht refits. Blohm & Voss Shipyards would become a subcontractor to Blohm & Voss Naval for construction only, as the military arm is not part of the acquisition. To this end Blohm & Voss Shipyards has been commissioned to build four frigates by end 2018, providing the yard with some bread and butter work while waiting for the superyacht orders to roll in.

A leading European fund manager with a focus on investing in capital-intensive businesses, Star Capital Partners is providing significant capital to take the business to the next stage. Summing up the reasons for its investment, CEO Tony Mallin noted the uniqueness and prestige of the Blohm & Voss brand, the 'best in class' quality of its products and its rare ability to build bespoke yachts over 130 metres, signalling that Blohm & Voss would be returning to the construction of custom, premium yachts - the kind of large, complex projects that it had built its reputation on, among them Eclipse, Palladium, A, Eco, Savarona and Lady Moura.

Against a presentational backdrop of these and other iconic superyachts that have shaped the yard's 135 years of shipbuilding history Dr Herbert Aly reiterated the reasons why Blohm & Voss is reasserting itself as a shipyard of choice for building a custom superyacht, namely its ability to deliver unique, iconic, highly engineered and technically advanced yachts.

He emphasised Blohm & Voss' expertise, listing its array of in-house naval architects, engineers, designers, project managers, outfitters, craftsmen, new technology and skilled blue collar workers and the network of select subcontractors and suppliers, so-called 'co-operating partners' because of the high quality, custom nature of their work and products.

Representatives from the project department also outlined Blohm & Voss' depth of experience in handling complex projects, its ability to explore owners' needs and wishes as well as whet appetites with advanced computer renderings, the way it teamed up with designers and owner's representatives to realise owners' dreams, and its willingness 'to always go the extra (nautical) mile' - illustrated with examples of the ground-breaking engineering and design solutions that were employed during the construction of A and Palladium.

Commenting on the way ahead, Dr Aly noted two new projects - an 80+m yacht under construction within the last month and a 100+m engineering project.

Dr Aly commented on the fact that while the German government had said no to Lürssen's counter offer, it had approved the Star Capital acquisition - a recognition of this being the best possible option for the future development of Blohm & Voss - and noted that the deal had been wholeheartedly endorsed by both employees and the unions. The transaction completed at the end of January with the required regulatory and government approval.