Moonen Shipyards in the Netherlands is starting to make a recovery from the financial turbulence it faced earlier this year due to problems beyond the yard’s control. Construction of one of the yard’s ongoing projects, a 30-metre motoryacht in Moonen’s new Caribbean range, has now recommenced in full cooperation with the owner, shareholder, subcontractors and suppliers. In addition, a number of other clients have submitted their yachts for refits as a sign of their support for Moonen.
The announcement of a ‘suspension of payment’ at Moonen in July 2015 reflected the hardship smaller Dutch yards were facing while the larger Dutch yards, with sturdy investors were thriving. Moonen’s Mexican investor of two years and the owner of 42m Sofia, previously a beacon of hope, had begun to suffer from serious cash-flow issues. As Mexico’s largest steel manufacturer, AMHSA was seriously impacted by the collapse of the global steel market over the summer.
Having previously demonstrated great commitment to Moonen, commissioning the first in a new and very well received range of semicustom motoryachts called the Caribbean series, AMHSA had to later pull out of the build of the 37-metre/350gt Martinique.
Emile Bilterijst, managing director, explains: “In addition to the Martinique, another build well underway at the yard was a second yacht in the Caribbean range, the 30-metre Matica. This was being built for a European client who was thoroughly enjoying working with Moonen. His desire to find a way in which the project could be continued, together with the ongoing support of AHMSA on a lower level, have been among the key factors that have helped Moonen get back on course.”
The Matica yacht is slated for launch in July 2016. And the confidence shown by the owner that Moonen will complete the build has been mirrored by practical support from several other clients who have submitted their Moonen superyachts for refits at the yard. These include the Moonen 97 Etoile d’Azur and the Moonen 97 Nimbus, both of which are being given a new exterior paint livery, having modifications made to their interiors, and enjoying a range of technical upgrades and maintenance. Delivery of both yachts is planned for the spring of 2016.
“We are very grateful to these three clients for their loyalty and proud that they have retained their trust in the people at this yard,” adds Bilterijst. “Despite the difficult situation at the yard we have been able to keep our experienced workforce and the expertise they hold. This is vital to our future as it is people that make a yard, not the facilities. Clients can have complete confidence that Moonen is capable of building the first-class superyachts that have given the yard its excellent reputation.”
The US market is also contributing to Moonen’s recovery. Bilterijst told SB, “Thankfully, the US market has been very strong for us recently. During the Palm Beach Boat Show we sold two second-hand yachts to US owners and a Moonen 97 to a US owner in Europe. It’s all because US clients have once again discovered that the Moonen brand represents high quality, go-anywhere yachts, that will keep their value.”
The management team are now working towards solutions that will enable the suspension of payment to be lifted. “A key next step would be to find a buyer for the Martinique,” concludes Bilterijst. “The hull is around 90% finished and the same goes more or less for the superstructure. A new owner can still have major influence on the interior and have a phenomenal new motoryacht ready by the spring of 2017.”