Royal IHC strenghtens position with heads of agreement for acquisition and refinancing
A broad consortium of investors and industry partners from the dredging and offshore sectors and the existing international syndicate of banks of Royal IHC, including the three major Dutch banks, have reached a Heads of Agreement for the acquisition and refinancing. This gives Royal IHC, as an important Dutch maritime player with a strong balance sheet, a new perspective for the future.
HAL Investments, Ackermans & van Haaren, MerweOord and Huisman have joined forces in the consortium. By establishing a continuity foundation (‘stichting continuïteit) (which will hold the shares in IHC Merwede Holding), the consortium aims to retain for the Netherlands both Royal IHC’s leading technology and its position as an important hub in the maritime cluster. The Heads of Agreement is made possible by a short-term bridging loan and guarantee facility from the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy, and an export credit insurance contribution from the Ministry of Finance. In this way the State supports the preservation of high-quality technology and employment for the Netherlands.
Jaap Huijskes, Chairman of Royal IHC states, “I am very pleased to announce today the Heads of Agreement with an industry consortium of major players in the maritime sector to acquire and refinance Royal IHC. It demonstrates the confidence of many stakeholders in – and their commitment to – Royal IHC’s high-quality shipbuilding. This is an important step for the continuity of shipbuilding in the Netherlands, including employment opportunities and the sector’s global export position. We are convinced that, with this agreement, we will strengthen Royal IHC’s innovative power and the leading position it has held in the maritime sector for more than 350 years.”
Now that a Heads of Agreement has been reached for the takeover of Royal IHC by an industry consortium, the Supervisory Board has appointed Gerben Eggink as new interim CEO. He succeeds Dave Vander Heyde, and will lead Royal IHC through this new phase. Mr Eggink has extensive experience in successfully leading organisations in transition. He previously served as CEO at the Gardline Group and Smit Lamnalco, among others. Paul van der Harten became CFO of Royal IHC with effect from April. Mr van der Harten has extensive international experience with large energy-related companies. He previously worked as CFO of AEG Power Solutions, and held various financial positions at OMV and Royal Dutch Shell. The Board of Directors also includes Chief Transformation Officer Gert-Jan Antvelink.
Mr Huijskes continous, “In Gerben Eggink, we are bringing in a new, versatile CEO who has more than proved himself in the maritime sector. On behalf of the entire Supervisory Board and the employees of Royal IHC, I would like to thank Dave Vander Heyde for his longstanding commitment to IHC. Dave has led the company in very challenging market conditions. He played an important role in the creation of the industry consortium, and renewed agreements and contracts with customers. With this Heads of Agreement he leaves a strengthened IHC that can look forward to the future with confidence. We wish him all the best with his future plans.”
With the proposed acquisition and refinancing Royal IHC will receive a significant financial injection and regain a strong balance sheet, necessary for the continued development of high-quality vessels and equipment. This includes both new equity and credit lines. Atradius Dutch State Business, as trade credit insurer, has pledged its full support for future export projects. Gerben Eggink says, “It is great news that, with this Heads of Agreement, Royal IHC is retained as an innovative player for its customers and for the Netherlands. I am looking forward to working hard with colleagues to restore the profitability of the business, while maintaining our high quality and the satisfaction of our customers for the solutions Royal IHC delivers. That will require a major effort from everyone, especially in these difficult times worldwide. But Royal IHC is more than worth it.”
In the coming period the Heads of Agreement will be fine-tuned. The agreement is subject to final agreement between the parties involved, and the usual assessments, including from regulators. An update on progress will be provided in due course.