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Abu Dhabi MAR-German deal 'falls through'

ThyssenKrupp says UAE shipbuilder had planned to buy assets.

FRANKFURT // ThyssenKrupp, Germany's biggest steel maker, said a deal for Abu Dhabi MAR to buy its Blohm + Voss civilian shipbuilding assets has fallen apart.

ThyssenKrupp, which also builds submarines, superyachts, engineering plants and elevators, said yesterday a separate planned joint venture with the Emirati company to sell naval surface ships to the Middle East and North Africa had also fallen apart.

The German company did not provide details about why the deal is not moving forward but said an existing deal for Abu Dhabi MAR to buy the civilian shipbuilding assets from HDW Gaarden in the northern city of Kiel, where superyachts and container ships are made, remains in place. Abu Dhabi MAR, a shipbuilding group 70 per cent owned by the Al Ain International Group and 30 per cent by Privinvest, said last year it held orders worth more than 1 billion (Dh5.33bn) and employed more than 2,000 people worldwide. The company could not be reached for comment yesterday.

ThyssenKrupp and Abu Dhabi MAR signed a memorandum of understanding in 2009 as Germany's shipbuilding industry, the largest in Europe, slumped amid the recession. The acquisition was officially announced in April last year. At the time, Ahmed Darwish Al Marar, chairman of the UAE company, said: "This agreement is an important milestone for Abu Dhabi MAR in the implementation of our strategy to position ourselves as a world leading shipbuilding company.

"The aim of this transaction is to generate long-term growth, strengthen the international market position of the company, expand our product range and gain access to new customers."

ThyssenKrupp's civilian shipbuilding assets are bundled in three units of Blohm + Voss Shipyards & Services, all based in Hamburg and involved in building superyachts and ship components as well as repair.

Blohm + Voss Naval, also based in Hamburg, makes naval surface ships and signed a deal in April for a 50-50 marketing joint venture withAbu Dhabi MAR.

ThyssenKrupp will retain the jewel of its shipbuilding assets, Howaldtswerke Deutsche Werft in Kiel, which makes submarines for Germany and its Nato partners. ThyssenKrupp said yesterday its marine systems division clinched a contract worth about 2bn to build six Class 214 submarines for Turkey, affirming it strategy to focus only on naval shipbuilding.

Last month ThyssenKrupp said it would spin off its non-core businesses, including its stainless steel unit, Europe's largest producer, as part of a 10bn divestment plan that would also refocus its car parts arm.

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