I KATHIMERINI Greek Daily Newspaper , 16/05/2018

A strategic partnership for the shipbuilding in Neorion of ships, passenger and military vessels made of aluminum, with the French company OCEA (Oceane Construction Navale), specialized shipyard in the sector, was signed  by ONEX SYROS SHIPYARDS. The American company ONEX SHIPYARDS is expected to acquire the 100% of Neorion under a consolidation agreement that will be submitted for ratification to the First Instance Court at the end of May.

The object of cooperation with OCEA is the co-production of new boats for maritime and recreation vessels (yachts) but also for coastguard and naval roles for international customers. According to sources from ONEX, there are already letters of intent with number of potential clients. For the development of these shipbuilding activities, a training program for the workers of Neorion in France, at OCEA’s yards, is also being launched, in order to transfer know-how of aluminum shipbuilding.

Aluminum, due to lower weight than steel and other properties, is preferred by a significant number of customers who looking  among other things for  high cruising speeds.

It is noteworthy that in mid-March, such a newly built (2016) aluminum ship of the American Navyl catamaran type, USNS Carson City, arrived in Syros . This arrival is considered to be related to a potential certification of  Neorion for security requirements of the US Armed Forces. Note that the investment of ONEX SHIPYARDS in Syros has been applauded with public statements and visits by the American Ambassador Joseph Payat.

ONEX has not yet acquired the share capital of “Neorion Syros” but has reached agreements with creditors, the State, current shareholders, insurance funds, employees, suppliers and banks to regulate shipyard debts. The overall agreement is expected to be signed by all parties next week and will be submitted for ratification to the First Instance Court of Syros by 31 May. This is also a prerequisite for a decision on the long-term settlement of debts to the social security services by the board of directors.

The amount of the first phase of ONEX’s investment is €60 million for the repayment of debts and the modernization of facilities and equipment, while the purchase of a new floating dock is also foreseen.

For the moment, the yards have resumed operation after one and a half years , through a third company linked to ONEX SYROS SHIPYARDS, which was then involved and the relevant consent of the major shareholder, N. Tavoulari. The repair and lifting of the tank “Violando Goulandris” (75,000 tons with a total length of 230 meters) of Neorion after the technical problem that occurred in April in the operation of its pumps, has also begun.  The shipyard can accommodate up to 7 ships in tanks and berths and its position in the center of the Aegean makes it directly competitive with the shipyards in Turkey and Malta but also in the wider Piraeus and Elefsina bay.