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Investor Carlyle reaches for TKMS

US financial investor Carlyle apparently wants to acquire a majority stake in TKMS. The future of the Kiel-based shipbuilder has been the subject of months of speculation.

For some time now, the Essen-based steel group ThyssenKrupp has been sounding out possibilities as to how and to whom the TKMS shipyard group could be sold. The US investor Carlyle now appears to have the best cards. An in-depth review is to be agreed this week, reports the FAZ, among others. [ds_preview]

TKMS has full order books

According to reports, it is about the acquisition of a majority stake, which is valued at €1.5 billion by the Bloomberg financial agency. There has been no official confirmation from the parties involved so far.

TKMS, U-Boot
Photo: Thomas Wägener

TKMS is considered the market leader for submarines and naval vessels in Europe. It recently generated annual sales of €2 billion and has around 6,500 employees. The naval shipyard has orders worth €12 billion on its books, including six submarines for the German and Norwegian navies.

The Kiel-based company also bought the former MV shipyard in Wismar two years ago in order to build up new capacities. TKMS is considered a likely contractor for the construction of new frigates.

German government examines investment in TKMS

At the same time, the state-owned KfW Bank has been examining the possibility of the German government acquiring a stake in TKMS for several weeks. According to the schedule, a result should be available by the end of the month. According to reports, a minority shareholding by the federal government with a blocking minority (25.1%) would still be conceivable even in the event of a sale to an investor. A subsequent consolidation with other shipyards, such as NVL (Lürssen) or German Naval, is also not ruled out.

The Bremen-based Lürssen Group would also reportedly transfer its naval business to a new shipbuilding group. The company Naval Vessels Lürssen (NVL), which was spun off in October 2021, includes Blohm+Voss and the Norderwerft shipyard in Hamburg as well as the Peenewerft shipyard in Wolgast and the Jadewerft shipyard in Wilhelmshaven.

German Naval Yards (GNY) in Kiel is also reportedly up for sale following the recent death of owner Iskandar Safa. According to industry circles, his heirs could push for a sale process, the newspaper report states.

IG Metall open to talks

IG Metall, which was involved in the sales process at an early stage, says it is “open and constructive” to the possibility of an investor becoming involved. “However, we will not agree to a sale at any price,” emphasised district manager Daniel Friedrich. Binding agreements for the future of all sites and the safeguarding of jobs, investments, collective agreements and co-determination structures are crucial. IG Metall continues to demand the state as an anchor investor in order to secure naval shipbuilding as a key technologyin the long term, according to Friedrich.

According to its own information, Carlyle is one of the largest private investment companies in the world. The company manages almost $300 and employs around 1800 people in 26 offices worldwide.

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Caption: View of the TKMS shipyard in Kiel