Bavaria Yachts seeks new in­vestors

Yachting Monthly - - NEWS -

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

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