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STX Finland Oy, formerly Aker Yards Oy, is a Finnish shipbuilding company operating two shipyards in Finland, in Turku and Rauma, employing some 2,500 people. It is part of STX Europe, a group of international shipbuilding companies owned by the South Korean STX Corporation.
In September 2013, STX Finland announced that the shipyard in Rauma would be closed in June 2014.
STX Finland Oy is a descendant of different shipyard companies. Wärtsilä operated the shipyards of Helsinki and Turku since the 1930s. Wärtsilä Marine went bankrupt in 1989 after merging with Valmet shipyards. Masa-Yards was established by Martin Saarikangas with financing from the shipping companies to finish the ships under construction, eventually taking over the operations of Wärtsilä's former shipyards. In the mid-90s Kvaerner purchased Masa-Yards and Kvaerner Masa-Yards was born. In 1991 the shipbuilding businesses of Hollming Oy of Rauma and Rauma-Repola of Rauma were merged to form Finnyards. This company was purchased by Kvaerner and became Aker Finnyards. In January 2005 Kvaerner Masa-Yards and Aker Finnyards merged to form the "new" Aker Finnyards Oy. The name of the company was changed to Aker Yards Oy on 7 June 2006, and to STX Finland Cruise Oy on 23 November 2008. Since September 2009 the company has been named STX Finland Oy.
STX Finland and its predecessors have built many luxurious cruise ships, including the very first modern purpose-built cruise ship, the Song of Norway. Recent cruise ships built by the company include the two Oasis-class vessels, Oasis of the Seas (2009) and Allure of the Seas (2010) which as of 2014[update] hold the record for largest cruise ships in the world. STX Europe is also responsible for the largest cruiseferry in the world, Color Line's Color Fantasy, and her sister ship Color Magic that entered service in late 2007.
In the past, the company has also been the principal yard for the Finnish Navy and by having a 50% share in Arctech Helsinki Shipyard, a joint venture with United Shipbuilding Corporation, is one of the world's leading builders of icebreakers.
2012–2013 funding crisis
In December 2012, STX Finland lost an order for a third Oasis-class cruise ship, worth nearly 1 billion euro, to STX France. For several months prior to this, the shipbuilding company, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Policy and the Minister of Economic Affairs of Finland had been in talks for financing the newbuilding, and the government officials were expected to present Royal Caribbean with an attractive financing package to stimulate economic growth and ensure employment as the order would have provided work for the Finnish Maritime Cluster for 12,000 man-years. However, on 23 November it was reported that the Cabinet Committee had refused to finance the loan for the order. Through December, STX Finland and the potential order for the third Oasis-class vessel was in the Finnish news almost daily while the Government debated whether or not grant a 50 million euro loan to the shipyard. One of the reasons why the loan was not readily given was the poor financial situation of the parent company, STX Corporation. On 21 December, the Government of Finland again refused to loan money to the shipyard, but offered a 28.3 million euro "innovation fund" if the ship, dubbed Sanctuary in the news, is ordered. This was not enough, and on 27 December Royal Caribbean ordered the third Oasis-class cruise ship from the government-backed French shipbuilding company.
In addition, the financing package for the two cruise ships ordered by TUI Cruises, of which the first is already in production, was tied to the funding of the third Oasis-class cruise ship. Since the order was awarded to the French shipyard, STX Finland had to apply for a separate financing from the government-owned export credit company Finnvera. However, on 12 January 2013 it was reported that it would not be granted due to the poor financial situation of the STX Corporation. If funding is not obtained, there is a danger that the shipyard, which has no other ships in its orderbook, will be closed.
Sales and closures
On 16 September 2013, STX Finland announced that the shipyard in Rauma, which has not been awarded newbuilding orders for several years, would close in the end of June 2014. According to the company, which had not made profit for six consencutive years, this was the only way to guarantee the continuation of the shipbuilding industry in Finland. When the shipyard is closed, about 600 people will lose their jobs.
On 10 October 2013, it was reported that the state-run Korea Development Bank (KDB), the key creditor of STX, is considering selling its European shipyards. Among them are STX Finland's shipyards in Turku and Rauma, and 50% of the joint enterprise Arctech Helsinki Shipyard.
On 22 January 2014, the city of Rauma purchased the shipyard from STX Finland for 18.1 million euro. A potential use for the site is a marine-related business park. However, it is unlikely shipbuilding will continue in Rauma.
Aker Arctic Technology Inc
On 17 December 2013, STX Finland sold its share of 71.4% of Aker Arctic, the Finnish engineering company that specializes in the design of icebreaking vessels, to the state-owned Finnish Industry Investment and the former minor shareholders, ABB and Aker Solutions. From STX Finland's side, the sale was seen as a move to improve the funding situation of the shipbuilding company whereas the Finnish government saw it as a way to preserve the icebreaker know-how in Finland.
On 8 May 2014, the Finnish media reported that the Finnish government is considering buying the Turku shipyard from STX in co-operation with the German shipbuilder Meyer Werft. The change of ownership is expected to happen by the end of June.
- Voyager of the Seas for Royal Caribbean International
- Explorer of the Seas for Royal Caribbean International
- Adventure of the Seas for Royal Caribbean International
- Navigator of the Seas for Royal Caribbean International
- Mariner of the Seas for Royal Caribbean International
- Freedom of the Seas for Royal Caribbean International
- Liberty of the Seas for Royal Caribbean International
- Independence of the Seas for Royal Caribbean International
- Oasis of the Seas for Royal Caribbean International
- Allure of the Seas for Royal Caribbean International
- Viking Grace for Viking Line
- Meri for Gaiamare
- Mein Schiff 3 for TUI Cruises; see funding issues above
- Spirit of Britain and Spirit of France for P&O Ferries
- Baltic Queen for Tallink
- Galaxy for Tallink
- Victoria I for Tallink
- Romantika for Tallink
- Superspeed 1 for Color Line
- Superspeed 2 for Color Line
- S. A. Agulhas II for South African Department of Environmental Affairs
- Mirabilis for Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources of Namibia
- Turva for Finnish Border Guard
- Baltic Princess for Tallink
- Star for Tallink
- Viking XPRS for Viking Line
- Armorique for Brittany Ferries
- Cotentin for Brittany Ferries
- Mein Schiff 4 for TUI Cruises; see funding issues above
- (Finnish) Rauman seudun teollistuminen
- "Arctech Helsinki Shipyard To Build Sovcomflot Icebreaker Supply Vessels". Retrieved 2010-12-18.
- Finnish Authorities Discussing Financing Third Oasis-Class Vessel? Cruise Industry News, 3 October 2012. Retrieved on 2012-10-05.
- RCCL said to be close to order third Oasis class ship from STX Finland. Cruise Business Review, 3 October 2012. Retrieved on 2012-10-05.
- Saarikangas laivatilauksesta: Vireillä on jotakin, tilanne ei ole toivoton. YLE, 26 November 2012. Retrieved on 2012-11-28.
- Valtio tyrmäsi Turun telakan hakeman lainan. Taloussanomat, 21 December 2012. Retrieved on 2012-12-21.
- Royal Caribbean Orders Third Oasis-Class Ship from STX France. Cruise Industry News, 27 December 2012. Retrieved on 2012-12-28.
- HS: Turun telakka pahoissa vaikeuksissa - voi menettää kaksi risteilijätilausta. Ilta-Sanomat, 12 January 2013. Retrieved on 2013-01-12.
- STX:n Anttila: TUI:n laivasta 10 prosenttia valmiina, rahoitus alkaa 30 prosentissa. Turun Sanomat, 12 January 2013. Retrieved on 2013-01-12.
- Daily: STX shipbuilder facing bankruptcy. YLE, 3 April 2013. Retrieved on 2013-04-03.
- Musta maanantai: STX:n Rauman telakka lopetetaan. YLE, 16 September 2013. Retrieved on 2013-09-28.
- S. Korea bank 'seeks sale of STX Europe'. Breitbait, 10 October 2013. Retrieved on 2013-10-10.
- Rauman kaupunki ostaa STX:n telakka-alueen. Ilta-Sanomat, 22 January 2014. Retrieved on 2014-01-22.
- Valtio hankki omistukseensa enemmistön arktisesta erityisosaajasta Aker Arcticista. Finnish Ministry of Employment and the Economy, 17 December 2013. Retrieved on 2013-12-17.
- Aker Arcticin osakkeenmyynti vahvistaa STX:n asemaa. Meriteollisuus, 18 December 2013. Retrieved on 2014-05-10.
- Valtio ostamassa Turun telakkatoimintaa saksalaisten kanssa. YLE, 8 May 2014. Retrieved on 2014-05-11.
- STX Finland Website of STX Finland