At a ceremony today for the handover of Mein Schiff 4 to TUI Cruises, Bernard Meyer, patriarch and CEO of the Meyer Group, announced that his company will be making large investments in its Finnish yard, which it acquired in autumn last year in partnership with the Finnish state.
In addition, Meyer signed the agreement two days ago for the remaining 30%, making Meyer Turku a totally-owned subsidiary and Mein Sciff 4 the first delivered by German-owned Meyer Turku.
The family-owned Meyer Group has been building boats and ships since 1795. Since his arrival, Meyer’s financial clout has brought rewards as fellow compatriots TUI Cruises, a 50-50 joint venture between TUI and USA’s RCCL, ordered two more sister vessels with options for two more 99,500 gt ships, while Estonia’s Tallink has ordered a LNG fast ferry worth EUR230 million (USD260.3 million). Carnival will return to having ships built in Finland as Meyer has an agreement for four cruise ships, two of which will be built in Turku.
“We’re confident and hope that more ship orders will be confirmed in the next few weeks,” CEO Jan Meyer said.
“We feel the customer (TUI Cruises) is happy and this is based on trust in my son,” added Bernard Meyer proudly, although said that details of the Carnival deal cannot be revealed. Co-owner RCCL EVP Harri Kulovaara concurred, telling IHS Maritime that MS4 was a week early and that RCCL is very happy with the result. TUI Cruises CEO Wybcke Meier told the press, “We are very happy with this ship, the design and bookings for it have gone well and even those for MS5 have started strongly.”
However, if TUI Cruises turns options for Mein Schiff 7 and 8 into orders, and Carnival’s agreement converts into two orders plus two options, then significant amounts of cash will be put into Turku to make it more efficient and bring it closer to German productivity levels.
“It’s not just a question of repairs or building a newbuilding hall,” commented Jan Meyer, “we must think about rebuilding the whole yard, including how blocks and parts are transported there.”
He estimates that turnover can be raised 30-40% soon and profits begin to flow as early as this year. He cited business as being at a ‘recovery stage’ but by next year it would be up to speed.
Meanwhile, back in Papenburg, Meyer Werft’s 3,000 workforce have greeted the news of the Turku ownership positively – mainly because Meyer will maintain that number at least until 2030. Because of the river Ems’ limits, it was feared work would transfer to Turku but those fears have now been eased.