Croatian DIV Group in process to take-over Kleven Verft

The Croatian industrial group DIV Group has entered into an agreement to take-over the Norwegian yard Kleven Verft from Hurtigruten.

Published: 22.01.2020.

The transaction is subject to final documentation process which is expected to be finalized during the next few weeks. DIV Group is one of the largest industrial groups in Croatia, and owns among others the largest shipyard in Croatia, Brodosplit. 

- I am incredibly happy on behalf of all employees in Kleven that we now are about to get a new and solid owner of the yard. We have through a difficult period managed to deliver fantastic ships, and at the same time kept the high competence at the yard. Together with the new owners we will plan long-term and develop further. This will be a new and exciting era for all Kleven employees, says CEO Kjetil Bollestad.

- We are very pleased to have signed this agreement which provides an opportunity to connect two long and successful shipbuilding traditions. Kleven is recognized throughout the world as a Norwegian shipyard with top-notch references and construction knowledge, especially in equipping complex ships. I am most satisfied that Brodosplit, which we managed to position extremely well in the segment of construction of medium and polar cruisers, has found a business partner with whom it will achieve top results. Currently, Brodosplit is one of the most efficient shipyards in the world in terms of design and construction quality, velocity and construction technology. The ships we build are a visible and globally recognizable product, however we wanted more, and that is why we are thrilled to have connected Kleven and Brodosplit. This connection will create a positive synergy effect in all segments of our business, including contracting and financing the construction of new ships, as well as design, construction of hulls, and especially equipping future new buildings. Due to this this positive synergy, I also expect lower construction costs and significantly lower costs of financing new projects. The total savings that could amount up to 5 percent will allow us not only greater profitability, but also competitiveness when contracting and building complex and sophisticated mid-size ships. In this segment, with this coupling we have a great chance to be truly the best on the market. Together we will do everything to achieve this, said Tomislav Debeljak, owner and CEO of the DIV Group. 

Win-win deal
The CFO of Kleven Verft, Ola Beinnes Fosse, explains here the reason for the agreement with the DIV Group, as well as what Kleven has emphasized in the assessment of new ownership:

- For both Kleven and the DIV Group, this is a great opportunity to build on the expertise that exists of both organizations, and to take a position in a growing market, says Fosse.

1: Kleven and DIV Group have complementary skills, which together facilitate the ambition to become a world-leading and profitable shipyard.
2. They have a balance and equity that makes it possible to finance the construction of new ships.
3. They come up with new projects immediately andbrings us capital to allow us to retain the unique expertise that has been built up over the past few years.

Is still going to be Kleven Verft
For both the Kleven management and Hurtigruten as the owner, it has been important that the identity and competence are taken care of. Kleven Verft will continue to be named Kleven Verft. The yard will continue as a separate company but as a part of the DIV Group. 

- We have been looking for an owner who we are sure wants the best for Kleven. Several potential buyers have been considered, and we are sure that DIV Group is the right owners for Kleven. No one else has been able to demonstrate such a safe and long-term plan for the yard. This is a perfect match, says CFO Ola Beinnes Fosse at Kleven Verft. 

He receives support from Torleif Ernstsen, chairman and chief financial officer of Hurtigruten. 

- It is good that Kleven now has found a new owner with a long-term perspective. Kleven has acquired a unique competence related to the construction of expedition ships that they can further develop. We believe that DIV Group will be very good owners for Kleven, says Ernstsen. 

In addition to several special vessels, Kleven Verft has in the past year delivered the world's first two hybrid-powered cruise ships - MS Roald Amundsen and MS Fridtjof Nansen - to Hurtigruten. 

Cooperation provides competitive advantage
From now on, Brodosplit and Kleven will be able to work together on a construction project. 

-Brodosplit is a large and experienced shipyard especially within steelwork. In an industry that struggles with profitability, we can now take advantage of each other's strengths and collaborate on projects where appropriate. The goal is to become more competitive, and at the same time be able to build with profitability, says Ola Beinnes Fosse. 

Expertise was the most important part of the sales process
DIV Group has been looking for a yard that can complement their own expertise. 

-The expertise the employees at Kleven have built up over several decades, with the delivery of high-quality vessels in several different segments, is what has been crucial to the sales process. The employees are the ones who have created the story of Kleven. It is also these that together with a very competent and experienced team in DIV will take this furtherand create new good experiences at Kleven, says Ola Beinnes Fosse. 

Thanks to Hurtigruten and the banks
Hurtigruten's ownership and the banks' predictability and support have, according to the Kleven leadership, been crucial for Kleven to get where they are today. Together they have carried the yard over the last few years.


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