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Papers: Bankruptcy filed against Helsinki shipyard

The facility has been heavily impacted by sanctions imposed on Russia because of the war in Ukraine.

Helsingin telakka pilvisellä säällä.
Helsinki Shipyard is located in the Hietalahti district of the capital. Image: Mårten Lampén / Yle
Yle News

Bankruptcy papers have been filed against the Helsinki Shipyard company, according to reports by the Finnish business newspapers Kauppalehti and Tekniikka & Talous.

Tekniikka & Talous writes that Helsinki-based Merima Oy — a subcontractor company that manufactures ship interiors — filed a bankruptcy petition against the company with Helsinki District Court on Tuesday 6 September.

Helsinki Shipyard has been owned since 2019 by the Cyprus-based Algador Holdings, whose main shareholder is Vladimir Kasyanenko, a businessman with alleged close ties to the Russian Federation. Kasyanenko currently holds a Belgian passport. Kasyanenko has denied any links to the Kremlin or to Russian politics.

The facility had previously been taken over by Russian state-owned United Shipbuilding Corporation (USC) in 2015.

Helsinki Shipyard's operations have been heavily impacted by the sanctions imposed on Russia because of the war in Ukraine. The company applied to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for an export licence to build an icebreaker for a Russian mining company, with construction due to start at Hietalahti shipyard next year.

Although preliminary work on the project began late last year, it has since been halted due to the sanctions against Russia. When the deal was announced in January — just one month before Russia's invasion of Ukraine — the company said it would create about 2,100 person-years of employment within the shipbuilding and maritime industries.

Finland's Ministry of Foreign Affairs told Yle in August that the export of icebreakers to Russia is currently banned due to EU sanctions, but noted that the export permit for the icebreaker project at Helsinki shipyard was still under consideration by the ministry.

CEO: Not a "significant amount of money"

Newly-appointed Helsinki Shipyard CEO Kim Salmi told Yle he believes the dispute with the subcontractor that led to the threat of bankruptcy can be worked out. Salmi, who took up the role at the beginning of September, said the sum involved is not large.

"It is not a significant amount of money. I believe that this can be negotiated," Salmi said.

Helsinki Shipyard specialises in Arctic shipbuilding, and the facility has built several icebreakers.

Edit added on 14.10.2022 at 12:10 to clarify that Vladimir Kasyanenko has alleged close ties to the Russian Federation.

Edit added on 18.10.2022 at 15:07 to add that Vladimir Kasyanenko has denied any alleged links to the Kremlin or Russian politics.

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