Ship builder Kleven Group taken over by Hurtigruten

Gerhard Flaaten, Sysla

The Hurtigruten-owned company KVE Holding is buying 100 percent of shares in Kleven shipyard, Kleven Maritime Contracting and Kleven Maritime Technology.

The news was told to staff at 11.30 this morning.

The owners retain the rest of the Kleven companies, including wellboat builder Myklebust shipyard.

“As a responsible owner and responsible customer, it is important for us to find good, and not least long-term solutions. Kleven has huge potential”, says Daniel Skjeldam, CEO of Hurtigruten, according to a press release.

Kleven has been through extensive restructuring since September 2017. Increasing costs associated with projects badly affected cash supply.

Good news for the company is that Kleven will receive a cash injection of up to EUR 64 million, consisting of contributions from owners, customers and banks, meaning that ongoing projects at Myklebust Shipyard are safe to continue.

Tough years
Kleven desperately tried to turn to new markets after it struggled with the offshore boom.

The ship building group owns two yards – Myklebust in Gursken and the main yard in Ulsteinvik, Western Norway. The last one is the biggest, and only here Kleven lost EUR 40 million in 2015 and 2016.

The company lost nearly EUR 29 million on one ship order alone (Build number 379) after the Malayasian company IES Pioneer didn’t pay up.

Kleven canceled the contract in July 2016 and tried to find a new buyer. Luckily last year, a new contract was signed with an unnamed international player, and last year the ship was handed over to a new owner.

However despite pulling back the contract, the company was hit with a EUR 28.3 million loss.

Furthmore In 2016, operating profit was minus EUR 2.4 million, though slightly better than the 2015 result of minus EUR 2.5 million.

New owners
Coming in with a total of EUR 30 million is a newly established investment company, Hurtigruten owners, as well as hotel tycoon Petter A. Stordalen’s investment company Strawberry Equity and British TDR (who are the largest investor with a share of just over 40 percent).

In addition to cruise ship company Hurtigruten, Strawberry Equity and TDR, the group consists of Åge Remøy, Kleven family companies John Kleven and H-Invest, the family-owned German yacht ship Lürssen Group and the investor Per Lillebø.

This group will now be taking over Myklebust shipyard, with the others parts of Kleven to be taken up by Hurtigruten.

Hurtigruten currently has two cruise ships under construction there.