On the 11th of July Moonen Shipyards has been declared bankrupt by a Dutch court, after its shareholder was found unable to meet its financial obligations.

Since several years, Moonen Shipyards was entirely owned by Mexico’s largest steel manufacturer Altos Hornos de México (AHMSA). During that period several yachts were delivered and Moonen was, thanks to the financial support of AHMSA, a healthy company. This situation changed suddenly last May, when Mr Ancira, chairman of AMHSA,  was arrested on the Spanish island of Mallorca, being accused of bribery. Since then all of AHMSA’s bank accounts were  frozen, including the one from Moonen. Some of the accounts were unfrozen after a while, but the money tap for the shipyard remained closed. The lack of financial support to pay wages and settle the required payments on the building of Project YN199 on speculation, has led to Moonen declaring bankruptcy.

It is a fact that AMSHA caused financial instability in the past. When in 2015 the steel prices dropped dramatically, Moonen was filed for suspension of payment for a longer period of time. To avoid such an insecure period again, the management of Moonen was already looking for a new investor. That new investor has been found and conversations were at an advanced stage in order to proceed a normal takeover of the shares. Due to the arrest of Mr Ancira and the loss of cash flow, it was necessary to speed up the process with the intended shareholder, and try to avoid a bankruptcy. However, there was hardly any communication possible with the shareholder and finally Moonen Shipyards was no longer able to meet its obligations towards personnel and suppliers thus bankruptcy followed on the 11th of July.

In a way this bankruptcy clears the road for the new Moonen, as the proposed investor shared his wish to fully disconnect from AHMSA after was has occurred last May. Moonen is, via the curator Mr Berendsen from LXA The Law Firm, still in negotiation with the investor and hope that a new Moonen will arise soon. “We have trust in this new investor and have faith in the future of Moonen” says Johan Dubbelman. “Moonen builds perfect yachts, the market in the 30 to 50 meter segment is good and we expect to increase our production. Currently we have one 36m in build. The aim of the new investor is to build 2 to 3 yachts per year. By building on speculation, delivery times are shorter, which is an absolute advantage for future customers.”

“When I look back on last year, I’m proud to see that the whole team at Moonen has successfully pushed our brand into the future. We really were well on our way to becoming more successful. At this moment we are close to entering a new era. I strongly belief in a healthy future for Moonen Yachts in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, as I can rely on a strong and loyal team of employees and good cooperation with our suppliers. Together with our new investor we will take Moonen Yachts to unprecedented new height” says Johan Dubbelman.

The curator is now in charge of handling the bankruptcy and dealing with the interested parties, where the major focus lies on restarting the company soon. It is to be expected that final decisions will be taken within the next few weeks.

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Marianne Hendriks

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