Romania nationalizes country’s largest shipyard

Romania’s Economy Ministry has reached an agreement with Dutch group Damen to take control of the Daewoo Mangalia Heavy Industry shipyard, the country’s largest industrial facility in the shipbuilding sector.

Dutch group Damen has agreed to grant the Romanian state a 2% stake in the shipyard. The Economy Ministry, which currently holds 49% of the shipyard’s shares will thus reach a 51% stake.

Meanwhile, Damen, which bought 51% of the company from South Korean group Daewoo last year, will remain a minority shareholder with 49% of the shares.

“It’s for the first time in the last 28 years when the Romanian state takes control over a privatized strategic industrial objective. As a majority shareholder, we can be more efficient in protecting the Romanian state’s interests and that highly qualified workforce at the shipyard,” said economy minister Danut Andrusca.

The Mangalia Shipyard had about 2,500 employees in 2016. The unions at the shipyard complained that the state’s decision to block the company’s sales has led to a lack of orders, putting the workers’ jobs at risk. The Romanian government blocked Daewoo’s sale of the shipyard to Damen in January this year, saying that it wanted to exercise its right to buy the Korean group’s stake in the company. At that time, former prime minister Mihai Tudose said that the Romanian state was interested in building ships for the Army at this shipyard.

The Defense Ministry plans to spend some EUR 1.6 billion on buying new multirole corvettes, which should be produced at a local shipyard, and modernizing its two frigates.

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