Howaldtswerke Deutsche Werft AG (HDW)

HDW is an all-round shipyard for sophisticated ships of all types and sizes. The yard is one of the most modern shipbuilding yards in Europe. HDW is one of the world's technological leaders, not only in merchant, but also in naval shipbuilding. With a workforce of around 3200, HDW is one of the most important industrial employers in the northernmost German federal state Schleswig-Holstein.

Since more than 150 years the name Howaldt stands for modern technology and innovation. Ever since the shipyard was established it has successfully faced the challenges of the market, and written shipbuilding history during that time. In 1838, Johann Schweffel and August Ferdinand Howaldt founded their mechanical engineering plant and ironworks in Kiel under the name "Schweffel & Howaldt".The young company built steam engines and boilers for ships, made ovens and cooking utensils and supplied cast iron and wrought iron implements for agricultural use. The company's interest in shipbuilding was a later development. In 1851, during the German-Danish war, Schweffel & Howaldt built the world's first operational submarine, the "Brandtaucher", constructed on the same basic principles that apply to submarines today.

The yard received its present name "Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft AG" in 1968 with the amalgamation of the "Kieler Howaldtswerke AG" with "Howaldtswerke Hamburg AG" and "Deutsche Werft AG". Subsequent years saw shipbuilding activities concentrated on the most modern of the yards, which was in Kiel.

HDW has been engaged in naval shipbuilding, constructing submarines, frigates, corvettes and landing craft. Other fields encompass maintenance, repair and modernisation of naval vessels. Moreover, the HDW naval shipbuilding division supplies a variety of components, especially in the field of submarine technology. HDW is the only German company to have developed and constructed torpedo tube systems and a fuel cell plant for air-independent submarine propulsion. Altogether, the shipyard spends an annual budget of several million DEM for research and development.

As prime contractor, HDW delivers "turn key" naval vessels to its customers. HDW is co-operating with navies world-wide. A particularly intensive form of co-operation is the naval coproduction. The shipyard provides the opportunity for the construction or modernisation of submarines and naval surface vessels in the respective customer's country, with the assistance of the experts from HDW.

Speculation intensified that moves were underfoot to fill the Taiwan submarine order when a Chicago-based investment company, One Equity Partners, moved in March 2002 to take a 75% stake in Germany's Howaldswerke Deutsche Werft (HDW) the world's leading builder of conventional submarines. The Berlin authorities had insisted that submarines for Taiwan will not be built on German soil but the 75% stake could give the US access to the crucial design know-how. One Equity Partners manages $3.5 billion of investments and commitments for Bank One Corporation in direct private equity transactions as well as venture and management buyout funds. Bank One Corporation is the nation's sixth-largest bank holding company in the United States.

In June 2002 a German court issued an injunction to block any sale of shares in submarine builder HDW by German engineering group Babcock Borsig AG without shareholder approval. The regional Court of Duisburg issued an injunction against Babcock, after it sold a 25 percent stake in HDW - a world leader in conventional submarines - to US equity firm One Equity Partners for about 350 million euros ($331 million). One Equity Partners, a unit of Bank One Corp, had completed the purchase of 75 percent of HDW, including half of it's 50 percent stake and shares held by tourism group Preussag and a financial investor.

In April 2002 Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft AG (HDW) and ThyssenKrupp Werften GmbH (Blohm + Voss and Thyssen Nordseewerke) signed new cooperation agreements for the construction and maintenance of naval ships. Under the agreement terms, HDW and Blohm + Voss will work together on naval surface ship contracts and HDW and Thyssen Nordseewerke on submarines.

In June 2002, after approval by the European cartel authorities, Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft AG in Kiel (HDW) in consortium with Ferrostaal AG took over the Greek yard of Hellenic Shipyards (HSY) in Skaramanga near Athens. Company management will lie in the hands of HDW.

In September 2002 One Equity Partners, a unit of Bank One, bought the 25 percent of HDW it didn't already own from Babcock Borsig AG, an insolvent German company.

In October 2002 it was reported that Northrop Grumman Corp., the world's largest builder of warships, might form a partnership with Howaldtswerke Deutsche Werft AG that would give the US company access to diesel-powered submarine technology. Northrop Grumman had considered buying a 70 percent stake in HDW from Bank One Corp.

In 2009, Abu Dhabi MAR and ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems began talks on a long-term cooperation agreement. In April 2010 an agreement between ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems and Abu Dhabi MAR was signed under which Abu Dhabi MAR was to buy ThyssenKrupp’s civilian shipyards, with military projects to be split 50-50 between the two companies.

In mid-May 2011, ThyssenKrupp announced that the 2010 deal was off and that the agreement with Abu Dhabi MAR was canceled. The extensive discussions between Abu Dhabi MAR and ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems, regarding the acquisition of the German steelmakers military assets, have fell through in June 2011. The discussions between the two leading shipbuilders, which lasted for over a year, were called off on 01 July 2011. The deal was for Abu Dhabi MAR the international shipbuilding group based in the Middle East, to take over the German shipyard’s military and civilian ship building assets. Only the military side of the acquisition deal was called off, which involved selling naval surface ships to the Middle East and North Africa, as discussions regarding the civilian ship building assets are still on going.

In the Fall of 2011 ThyssenKrupp sold its civilian shipyard HDW Gaarden in Kiel, Germany, to Abu Dhabi MAR. As a result, HDW Gaarden, focused on civil construction, changed names to Abu Dhabi MAR Kiel. On 02 September 2011 Abu Dhabi MAR Kiel GmbH started with 172 employees, the facilities, equipment and infrastructure of the former HDW Gaarden, working on first orders of its target markets offshore, mega yachts and construction of special vessels.

When the civilian shipbuilding business was struggling, the Kiel shipyard started catering to the military sector as well. In March 2015 the shipyard changed its name from Abu Dhabi MAR Kiel to German Naval Yards. The yard's name was changed just two months before the signing of ThyssenKrupp's deal with Israel. As part of a large-scale deal signed with ThyssenKrupp, which also included the purchase of three submarines, Israel bought four Sa'ar 6-class corvette warships. The warships, that will be entrusted with the protection of Israel's gas rigs, will be partly built by Abu Dhabi MAR.




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