A Dutch court has placed Moonen in bankruptcy. The news comes shortly after the yacht builder announced discussions with a new investor. Despite the financial straits, according to a yard spokesperson, those discussions continue.
Court records reveal the bankruptcy filing took place last week. According to the Dutch newspaper Het Financieele Dagblad, the shipyard was unable to meet its financial obligations. This followed a form of court protection called suspension of payment, declared earlier in July. Under suspension of payment, a court-appointed administrator assists a company in its negotiations with creditors, along with other financial matters.
When reached for comment by MegayachtNews.com, Marianne Hendriks, the yard’s marketing manager, confirmed the financial challenges. She says that the court placed Moonen in bankruptcy due to its shareholder’s arrest this spring. Alonso Ancira, chairman of Altos Hornos de Mexico (AHMSA), the largest integrated steel producer in Mexico, owns 100 percent interest in Moonen, through AHMSA. Police in Spain arrested Ancira in late May as part of a widening probe into alleged bribery. Upon Ancira’s arrest, police further froze Ancira’s and AHMSA’s assets, including bank accounts.
This, in turn, impacted Moonen. “Moonen did not receive any financial support anymore,” Hendriks explains. Since the shipyard has YN199 under construction on spec (below), it could not continue operations, she adds.
Moonen has had previous financial issues because of AHMSA. AHMSA acquired an 80-percent stake in the shipyard in 2014. When steel prices dropped dramatically during the global recession, though, AHMSA stopped the flow of funds. Moonen filed for suspension of payment in 2015, to avoid bankruptcy. It emerged from the status after two years.
Despite the current bankruptcy, Hendriks says Moonen remains in contact with a potential new investor. “We were always looking for new opportunities,” she explains. In early July, the builder revealed it was in advanced negotiations with the unnamed individual. The person is familiar with yachting and global business. “By teaming up with this reputable investor, we can secure future growth,” Johan Dubbelman, Moonen’s CEO, said at the time. Specifically, growth would mean expanding the number of yachts in build each year.
Hendriks says that when the yard and potential investor met, they planned an introduction to Ancira. When police arrested Ancira, however, “the new investor did not want to have any interaction anymore.” But, “in a way, the bankruptcy came, as a coincidence, at a good moment, to clear the road for a new shareholder,” Hendriks says. “We are still speaking to this investor.”
In the meantime, a court-appointed receiver is overseeing Moonen in bankruptcy. No timetable exists for the process to play out.