August 2010 Megayachts Column

Changing of the Guards

Two well-known mega-yards embark on new futures.

In the first half of 2010, ownership changes were underway at two of the largest mega-yacht shipbuilders in Northern Europe: Oceanco and Blohm & Voss.

Oceanco was bought by Mohammed Al Barwani, a private investor from Oman, in early April. Through MB Holdings LLC, he also owns stakes in oil, gas, and manufacturing firms. He said that Oceanco, “offers an outstanding growth opportunity as the world economy recovers.” Plans for a yard expansion include a dry dock able to accommodate yachts up to 459 feet and larger internal naval architecture and engineering departments.

Marcel Onkenhout, the yard’s former deputy managing director who has been with Oceanco for 16 years, was promoted to CEO to oversee the ownership transition. “Interest is positive and increasing,” he said in a recent interview. “There are a number of active inquiries where potential clients are investing their own resources in designers and advisors to help develop their projects.”

And as we go to press, the sale of a majority stake in Blohm & Voss to Abu Dhabi MAR is waiting for final approval from the German government, necessary because it would include a 50-50 partnership in the firm’s military shipbuilding division.

If the sale is approved, Blohm & Voss, previously a division of Thyssen Krupp, would join the CMN and Nobiskrug shipyards under the Abu Dhabi MAR umbrella. With the three brands under one company, plans are to move yacht sales to a central location with one phone number, according to Cristian Schwarzwlder, sales director yachts at Blohm & Voss. “It’s much better for a shipyard to have a head who knows shipbuilding,” he says.

This article originally appeared in the August 2010 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.

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