The international marine industrial group Davie has officially purchased the assets of one of the world’s most important icebreaker and ice-class shipyards, Finland’s Helsinki Shipyard Oy, in a historic transaction that “combines the skills, experience and capabilities of two leaders in Arctic shipbuilding”.
The deal to acquire the assets of Helsinki Shipyard Oy (HSO) was announced by parent group Inocea, which is based in the Principality of Monaco, at the start of the month.
“The completion of the transaction is the culmination of a series of milestones, beginning in December 2022. In March 2023, Davie exercised an exclusive option to purchase the assets of HSO,” reveals Marcel Poulin, the director of External Affairs and Industrial Participation at Davie. “This was followed in April by the signing of a business purchase agreement, and on 4th July Davie secured a new 50-year land lease from the City of Helsinki.”
Two leaders in Arctic shipbuilding
The Davie group, established in 1825, is a leading builder and maintenance manager of “mission-critical” ships, including icebreakers, warships and ferries, for government and commercial customers that is based in Canada while HSO is a specialist in the field of Arctic vessels, particularly icebreakers, that has also branched out into the superyacht and high-quality passenger and cruise ship industries.
“The historic transaction combines the skills, experience and capabilities of two leaders in Arctic shipbuilding and other high-value products,” continues Poulin. “While the Canadian and Finnish shipyard will be separate legal and operating entities, the business headquarters will remain in Québec. The transaction will create opportunities for employees, encourage collaboration, facilitate the transfer of know-how, provide access to resources, and stimulate export potential.”
“Proud to be at the forefront of this next frontier”
It was a multi-faceted purchase requiring significant investment by the Davie group as well as €77 million of financing on the part of the Québec government, the Canadian province in which the Davie group is primarily active. The more intimate details of the deal remain confidential, but “a significant proportion of the funds will go to ensuring the shipyard has working capital while it gets up and running and secures new business,” according Poulin.
“Linking together the capabilities, capacity and expertise of the two global leaders in ice-class vessel and icebreaker construction is a strategically important development for the western world,” says Alex Vicefield, Inocea’s Chairman, CEO and co-owner. “The Arctic is critical for future security, trade, navigation and the environment and Inocea is proud to be at the forefront of this next frontier.”
The deal has also drawn praise from Finnish authorities, with the nation’s Minister of Economic Affairs, Wille Rydman, saying, “Thanks to the new owner, the future of the shipyard and the entire Finnish marine industry looks brighter.”
Mayor of Helsinki Juhana Vartiainen has echoed this sentiment, saying, “We have gained a strong, stable and competent operator from a reputable country for our shipyard operations. Versatile and vibrant business activity enables the success of Helsinki and enhances the well-being of our people. This is very welcome and happy news for all Helsinki residents.”
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Photo source: Helsinki Shipyard Oy, Facebook