Canada to the rescue

The Helsinki Shipyard was in dire straits due to its Russian ownership. While there were no sanctions leveled against the owners themselves, the shipyard’s plans to sell vessels to Russia dried up immediately as Russia attacked Ukraine.

In November 2023, it was announced that the Canadian marine industrial group Davie has finalized the acquisition of the assets of Finland’s Helsinki Shipyard Oy (HSO). According to media reports, the deal had been in the works for about a year.

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. This was followed in April by the signing of a business purchase agreement, and in July Davie secured a new 50-year land lease from the City of Helsinki.

Group Davie owns Davie Shipbuilding, Canada’s largest shipbuilder. Helsinki Shipyard, on the other hand, is the world’s leading icebreaker and ice-class shipbuilder. Together, the companies certainly have the capability to design, build and maintain mission-critical ships – icebreakers, obviously, but also warships and ferries for government and commercial customers.

According to the deal, the Canadian and Finnish shipyards will be separate legal and operating entities, while the business headquarters will remain in Québec. Davie hopes that the transaction will create opportunities for employees, encourage collaboration, facilitate the transfer of know-how, provide access to resources, and stimulate export potential.

Kim Salmi, Managing Director for Helsinki Shipyard, calls the transaction “the best possible news” for the shipyard, its workforce and supply chain. Salmi notes that now, after months of planning, the shipyard’s top priority is to rapidly return to doing what it does best – designing and building world-class ships quickly, efficiently and costeffectively.

The details of the business purchase agreement are confidential. However, a significant proportion of the assembled funds will go to ensuring that the shipyard has working capital while it gets up and running and secures new business.

For the purposes of landing the deal, it was also important that the Canadian government looks favorably on the potential synergies resulting from the transaction – especially, since construction of icebreakers is a big priority in Canada’s National Shipbuilding Strategy.

Combining forces, it is likely that Davie and HSO can deliver the critical expertise so in demand by state and commercial customers. Renowned for their leadership and expert knowledge in clean energy solutions, they also seek to contribute to the creation of more sustainable ocean-going fleet.


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