Sale of Stena E-Flexer Shipyard Completed

Summary: Chinese state-owned AVIC International Holdings completed the sale of its stake in AVIC Weihai last week
Stena Line's second E-Flexer STENA EDDA seen during fitting out with Brittany Ferries first E-Flexer GALICIA and Stena Line's third STENA EMBLA under construction in the building docks behind. Stena Line / AVIC Ship.
Stena Line's second E-Flexer STENA EDDA seen during fitting out with Brittany Ferries first E-Flexer GALICIA and Stena Line's third STENA EMBLA under construction in the building docks behind. Stena Line / AVIC Ship.

Chinese state-owned AVIC International Holdings completed the sale of its 69.77% stake in loss-making AVIC Weihai Shipyard Co. to China Merchants Offshore Engineering last week.  The Weihai shipyard is currently building nine Stena E-Flexer Ro-Pax ferries for Stena RoRo. The sale sees control of the yard pass from traditionally aviation and defence focussed AVIC to a wholly owned subsidiary of state controlled China Merchants Group.  China Merchants themselves have been restructuring their shipbuilding interests and integrated the former Sinotrans-CSC Shipbuilding Industry Jinling and Jiangdong shipyards into their China Merchants Heavy Industry subsidiary earlier this year.  They also took over Zhejiang Eastern Shipyard last year.  The remaining 30.23% stake in Weihai shipyard will remain with its current owner the Weihai Government.

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China’s Fourth Largest Shipbuilder

The addition of the Weihai facility makes China Merchants the fourth largest shipbuilder in China after CSSC, CSIC, and Cosco Shipping Heavy Industry.  The other AVIC shipyard at Dingheng is expected to transfer to China Merchants in the near future. This will allow AVIC to quit shipbuilding entirely.  At present it is not clear if AVIC’s stake in ship design and engineering consultancy Deltamarin will also transfer to China Merchants.

The first Stena E-Flexer STENA ESTRID fitting out at AVIC Weihai. AVIC Ship.
The first Stena E-Flexer STENA ESTRID fitting out at AVIC Weihai during April 2019. AVIC Ship.

Important Player

The shipyard at Weihai has become an important player in the Ro-Pax building market with nine firm orders for E-Flexer Ro-Pax ferries from Stena RoRo, The first of these vessels, STENA ESTRID, is expected to be in service between Holyhead and Dublin early next year. The second, STENA EDDA, will replace either STENA MERSEY or STENA LAGAN on the Belfast to Liverpool route around mid-2020.  The transfer of yard ownership is not likely to affect the construction of the vessels for Stena RoRo or their delivery to Stena Line, Brittany Ferries, and DFDS. In fact, the transaction makes Weihai shipyard part of a much stronger shipbuilding group with the financial resources and structure to support the yard.

Rendering of the stern of an E-Flexer built to Brittany Ferries specification. In this case the name GALICIA appears with a home port of Morlaix (France). Stena RoRo.
Rendering of the stern of an E-Flexer built to Brittany Ferries specification. In this case the name GALICIA appears with a home port of Morlaix (France). Stena RoRo.

The Jinling yard has orders for 12 x up to 7,800 lane metre Ro-Ro ferries for Grimaldi and Finnlines, as well as a further four sister-ships to DFDS’s 6700 lane metre capacity TROY SEAWAYS and EPHESUS SEAWAYS.  Germany’s TT-Line also has a 45,000 GT Ro-Pax ferry on order at Jinling, with an option for another.

EPHESUS SEAWAYS. DFDS
EPHESUS SEAWAYS. DFDS

As well as the nine firm E-Flexer orders, Stena RoRo have options to build another two of the class at Weihai. Italian shipowner Giovanni Visentini is thought to have an option for a sister to Ro-Ro ROSA DEI VENTI at the yard as well.

Avic Weihai promotional image featuring STENA EDDA and STENA ESTRID. AVIC Ship
Avic Weihai promotional image featuring STENA EDDA and STENA ESTRID. AVIC Ship
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