Vulkan bids for China foothold

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 26 July, 1995, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 26 July, 1995, 12:00am

BREMER Vulkan has become the second major German shipyard inside a year to seek a foothold in the Chinese shipbuilding market.

The board of the Bremen-based group, one of Europe's biggest shipbuilders, has approved a bid to take a majority (51 per cent) stake in Shanghai Edward Shipbuilding (SESC).

It will provide the basis for a joint venture in China with SESC's main partner, the Zonghua Shipyard, which employs more than 6,000 people.

SESC employs 750 and can make vessels up to 170 metres long - the kind of ships which are difficult to produce economically in Europe.

Vulkan said the SESC deal, which still needs Chinese approval, would make it the first foreign concern to become a partner of the China State Shipbuilding Co.

The firm said it would act as a base to expand operations in China.

Technical personnel from rival Blohm & Voss (B&V) were due in China this spring to supervise construction of a new ship repair yard near Hong Kong, in which the Hamburg yard is taking shares.

The involvement is the result of a deal signed last October with Reliable (Shenzhen) Dockyard Co.

It marks B&V's first ship repair co-operation venture in the Far East.

It is designed, like Vulkan's new venture, to cut high domestic production costs.

A B&V spokesman said it was hoped shipowners would use the China facility for routine work, but go to Hamburg when specialist repairs were needed.