Basque president announces La Naval shipyard “is today much closer” to signing a contract with marine wind farm industry
A deal Sestao's La Naval shipyard has been negotiating for months with a number of banks is expected to go ahead soon, following the Basque government's intervention in the operation as an intermediary. The government's arrival on the scene has finally persuaded Spanish export credit loan company CESCE to give its approval to the guarantees the banks needed to come to an agreement for the operation to go ahead. This means the new contract La Naval is negotiating is now "that much closer", as Basque president Patxi López said yesterday. Besides his government's helping hand, López also mentioned "the excellent management and the high technological and competitive levels La Naval offers today" as the decisive factors in bringing the deal to the boil.
Basque president López made these declarations during the LeaderSHIP Bilbao conference held at the city's Maritime Museum, where he was accompanied by Basque Industry minister Bernabé Unda, and representatives from the European shipbuilding industry. The conference was called to develop a new Europe-wide industrial policy for the shipbuilding sector, oriented towards finding a response to the challenges facing maritime transport, trapped in a major crisis for some years now. It is a strategic industry with nearly 400 firms and a workforce of around 17,000.
López stressed that, despite the crisis affecting the shipbuilding industry, it was a "mature sector with plenty of life in it." He also reiterated the Basque government's "major commitment" to the industry. "We are confident this operation will bring in a long-term client for La Naval in the marine wind farm industry," López added. Although the appearance of the Basque Government as an intermediary had clearly helped things along, López said the operation had been made possible, above all, thanks to excellent management and the technological and competitive level La Naval offered clients today. "I think we can say the contract the shipyard's management have been fighting for so long is nearly in the bag," he concluded.
During his speech to the conference, López had pointed to the "high level of skills" in the Basque shipping industry and, in particular, the "cutting-edge technological" activity at La Naval. "Because", as he said, "it's innovative. Because it gets out and about to unearth business and because it competes at the very highest level." López was confident that this operation would "bring stability to La Naval, give it a foothold in a new market niche and help towards recovery in the industry," which he described as strategic for the region's economy.