Heads of agreement reached for IHC takeover

A maritime industry consortium and the existing syndicate of banks of shipbuilder Royal IHC, including the three major Dutch banks, have reached a heads of agreement for the acquisition and refinancing of IHC Merwede Holding B.V.

This gives Royal IHC, a financially troubled Dutch maritime player, a new perspective for the future. Under the deal, the country’s government will provide the shipbuilder with a lifeline of up to almost €400 million.

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,” Jaap Huijskes, Chairman Royal IHC, commented.

“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 … position it has held in the maritime sector for more than 350 years.”

Industrial partners from the dredging and offshore sectors — HAL Investments, Ackermans & van Haaren, MerweOord and Huisman — have joined forces in the consortium. By establishing a continuity foundation, which will hold the shares in IHC Merwede Holding B.V., the consortium aims to retain for the Netherlands both Royal IHC’s 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 Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy, and an export credit insurance contribution from the Ministry of Finance. 

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.

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, the company said.

Renewed Board of Directors 

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. Gerben has extensive experience in successfully leading organizations in transition. He previously served as CEO at the Gardline Group and Smit Lamnalco, among others.

“In Gerben Eggink, we are bringing in a new, versatile CEO who has more than proved himself in the maritime sector,” Huijskes said.

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.”

Paul van der Harten became CFO of Royal IHC with effect from April. Paul 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.