HFG Zwijndrecht topside

HFG to Divest Activities in Zwijndrecht and Hartlepool

Struggling Heerema Fabrication Group (HFG) plans to divest a significant part of its activities in the field of designing and manufacturing complex steel structures for the offshore market. As a result, sixty jobs will be lost.

For some time, HFG has been suffering from insufficient project volume and marginal profitability. In addition, the risks associated with building topsides are high and customers are unwilling to pay for this risk.

Yards in Zwijndrecht and Hartlepool to Be Sold

As a result of the proposed divestment, HFG intends to divest its activities at the sites in Zwijndrecht (the Netherlands) and Hartlepool (United Kingdom). The proposed divestment will lead to the closure of HFG's headquarters in the Netherlands.

For the yard in Zwijndrecht, HFG has signed a letter of intent for sale with the Italian industrial group Rosetti Marino S.p.A.. It is expected that the proposed sale of the yard in Zwijndrecht will not lead to job losses.

A new owner will also be sought for the activities of the yard in Hartlepool in due course. The activities on the HFG yard in Vlissingen (the Netherlands) and in Opole (Poland) will be continued. 

Support for Employees

The management of HFG has already informed the employees and asked for its works council's advice. HFG will make every effort to provide support to the employees whose jobs have been lost.

'We are well aware that the proposed divestment has far-reaching consequences, in particular for our colleagues at our head office in Zwijndrecht,' says CEO Koos-Jan van Brouwershaven of HFG. Therefore, we will do our utmost to guide them through this difficult phase.'

Earlier Restructuring Failed

The intention to divest HFG follows an earlier restructuring of HFG in November 2016. This took place against the background of the lower oil price and the associated lack of investment in the oil and gas industry and unfavourable contract conditions in the wind energy market.

The starting point for the reorganisation was the expectation that the market would recover in 2019.  Van Brouwershaven is disappointed that the earlier reorganisation did not have the desired effect. 'Under the persistently difficult market conditions, HFG, with its current structure and head office organisation, has too little prospect of continuing its activities.
The HFG yard in Vlissingen, supported by the yard in Poland, will continue to focus on the construction of jackets for the offshore industry and will also continue to serve as a supporting yard for sister company HMC.

Picture: a topside at the HFG yard in Zwijndrecht (by HFG).

Author: Mariska Buitendijk

Mariska Buitendijk is one of SWZ|Maritime's journalists as well as the magazine's copy editor.

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