Bavaria Yachts seeks new investors
In a surprise announcement, one of Europe’s biggest boatbuilders, Bavaria Yachts, has announced it has gone into self-administration to help it secure new investment.
The German company is stressing that operations at its main factory at Giebelstadt will continue ‘seamlessly over the next few months.’
Under German insolvency law, selfadministration allows companies to restructure in insolvency proceedings under their own management. This means Bavaria’s management team will remain in full operational control while it looks for new investors.
Bavaria’s 600 workers are being kept updated and all wages between April and June 2018 will be paid under insolvency compensation.
The company’s French subsidiary, Bavaria Catamarans SAS, formed after Bavaria bought Nautitech Catamarans in 2014, will not be affected.
‘The delivery season is currently in full swing so that it will be possible to process a large order backlog over the coming months,’ said Bavaria in a statement. ‘The top priority is now to search for an investor.’
Chief executive officer Lutz Henkel, who joined in 2015, has already left. Under his management, Bavaria introduced its new C-line range, which includes the C57, C45, C50, and the C65 which was unveiled at Boot Düsseldorf earlier this year.
‘In the current situation, we will continue to provide our customers with the customary high quality,’ stressed Bavaria’s chief operating officer Erik Appel.
‘We have many years of experience building high-quality yachts and are industry leaders in technology in many areas,’ he added.
In recent years, Bavaria introduced state-of the-art vacuum-infusion technology that allows the modular building of interiors to meet individual customer requirements.
Bavaria’s announcement has shocked many in the industry. Detlef Jens, editor of Bavaria’s in-house publication Bavaria Life, said the firm had invested heavily in new models, both sail and power, and ‘seemed to have a well-filled order book.’
He said it was too early to say what impact this could have on Germany’s yachting industry, but the chances for recovery were hopefully ‘good’.
‘It would be a shame to let a company go down at this promising stage. I believe it is more a problem of financial dealings and of the past debts that came when founder Winfried Herrmann sold the company for a huge amount of money and which have had to be dragged through the accounts ever since – that effectively could have killed it. The core of the company is promising and valuable, so I do hope there will be a solution soon,’ said Jens.
Bavaria Yachts, which recently celebrated its 40th anniversary, was sold to the private equity group Bain Capital in June 2007 for around €1.1billion. American investment firms Oaktree Capital and Anchorage Capital Group then became creditors post financial crisis in 2008.
As part of the restructuring, they waived the majority of their loans and became majority shareholders, investing ‘significant resource’.
‘Unfortunately, Bavaria Yachtbau was unable to recover operational profitability,’ said a spokesman for Oaktree Capital and Anchorage Capital Group.
Bavaria employs around 600 people in Germany
The C45 is part of the new C-line range