Spanish Yards Criticise Dutch Shipyards Financial Practices

During Early February the Spanish Association of Maritime Industries (ADIMDE) and The Basque Maritime Forum have presented the European Commission with a paper which criticises the Dutch financial leasing system for vessels. In particular the coalition requested that the anticipated and accelerated amortisation between 2009 and 2011 be investigated to determine whether it is selective and whether (in combination with other tax incentives to acquire vessels in Holland) it constitutes state aid amounting to a 35% subsidy of the price per vessel.

2013.03.20 - Spanish Yards Criticise Dutch Shipyards Financial Practices

The Spanish maritime associations believe that Dutch shipyards account with a tax lease system which violates European Union laws. Furthermore, they accuse Dutch yards of conducting random attacks against the interests of the Spanish naval sector with the goal of eliminating Spanish shipyards from European and international markets.

In June 2011 the European Commission began investigating the Spanish tax lease system. The Spanish yards say that this has meant they ‘have been deprived of the opportunity to compete under the same conditions as the rest of Europe’s shipyards’. They hold competitor European yards responsible for instigating this action, especially Dutch yards as the Spanish delegation believes that they would gain the most from ‘blocking Spanish contracting capability’.

The Spanish aggregation cited an upswing in the fortunes of Dutch shipbuilding compared to the parlous state of the Spanish industry, with six yards recently closing and three undergoing insolvency proceedings. The Spanish shipyard associations are currently studying other European member states’ tax lease systems as they believe they have identified irregularities which the European Commission has not yet investigated.

According to ADIMDE, before June 2011, Spain had onlyeconm contracted four vessels for an amount of US$ 200m, however, after the opening of the investigation. The Netherlands closed the year with a 29 vessel order book and a billing of US$ 1600m.

Spanish shipbuilding is suffering, six shipyards have shut down and three are currently undergoing insolvency proceedings, add to this the amount of marine businesses that have also folded because of their reliance on the shipyards and it amounts to worrying times for the country.

Sources: The Basque Maritime Forum, IMAREST, The Motorship

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