MB92 La Ciotat wins dry dock lease


The French refit shipyard MB92 La Ciotat has secured a 20-year lease for the 656ft (200m) dry dock in the south of France.

The dry dock lease will enable MB92 to invest about €20m ($20.9m) in modernising the site and surrounding buildings. During the past five years, 44  projects have been completed in the dry dock alone.

“As a business, we want to have long-term leases because they give certainty with regards to our clients,”  Rob Papworth, operations director, MB92 La Ciotat, told Superyacht Investor. “It’s important to be able to give our clients guarantees about the future and we’re able to do that with this investment.”

The lease also included two buildings. “The dry dock and two covered sheds are important tools in our quiver. When you remove the hull doors of a superyacht, they can be 20m long, so having a space to store these is key,” said Papworth.

More than €60m has been invested in La Ciotat Shipyards since 2017, including €45m from MB92 Group for the 4,300t shiplift which will be commissioned in September 2022. The shiplift will be able to handle seven 337ft (115m) yachts at once.

“MB92 La Ciotat’s workforce has been growing since 2017, a progression that is directly linked to the dry dock operation,” said Jean-Marc Bolinger, CEO, MB92 Group.

More than two-thirds (70%) of the annual turnover allocated to subcontractors is attributable to companies based in La Ciotat and Southern France. The assurance of having the dry dock and the surrounding area presents an opportunity for further investment in the shipyard’s facilities for workers.

“Instead of having temporary installations, we can build facilities for the personnel like shower blocks. Refits can take six months at times, so making it enjoyable for our staff and contractors is the best way to achieve a successful outcome,” Papworth said.

The shipyard has also invested in plans that aim to boost its sustainability. The site currently processes black and grey water before it is treated in the town and has solar panels on several buildings with more to be installed in the buildings acquired in the lease. “We are lucky in France as we have access to green nuclear power. We also have installed better insulation systems and solar panels to reduce our power usage and maximise efficiency,” said Papworth. “

Ben Mennem, CEO of MB92 La Ciotat, said: “We are delighted with this decision which will allow us to consolidate our position as France’s leading refitter and to undertake major investments to further develop our business, a development which will continue to integrate respect for people and the planet.”