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August 30, 2005

Aker Helsinki to focus on ferries

The Board of Aker Finnyards says it has taken measures to make its Helsinki yard one of the most cost effective yards for building ferries in the industry.

The site in Helsinki has become too small to meet the demand for today's ever growing cruise ship sizes, but expansion of the dry dock is not possible, given the location in the yard in the middle of the city of Helsinki. Activity at the yard has been low since its last cruise ship was delivered in February 2004.

Aker Yards says it is "determined to continue shipbuilding activities in Helsinki."

Its plan for the Helsinki yard is to focus on the assembly and outfitting of ferries. Two contracts for building of ferries were recently signed with Tallink and Brittany Ferries. The steel blocks have already been floated on barges to Helsinki from company's Turku and Rauma units.

The plan also includes moving the management, design, sales and procurement functions now in Helsinki to Turku.

Aker Yards' three Finnish yards in Helsinki, Rauma and Turku have since the beginning of 2005 been operating as one company and one organization, where both work and people have been flexibly shared between the three sites. Investments have been made in a new block factory in Turku, where 200 new employees will be recruited by the end of 2005. When recruiting in other units of Aker Finnyards, personnel affected by the changes at the Helsinki yard will be given priority.

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