MADRID --- The president of the Sociedad Estatal de Participaciones Industriales (State Industrial Participations Company, SEPI), Vicente Fernández Guerrero, today said, during testimony before the Congress's Committee on Industry, Commerce and Tourism, that the construction of the corvettes will allow the San Fernando shipyard to become "an international example in terms of the use of the most advanced technology in the naval sector." (SEPI is the state-owned holding company that manages all industrial shareholdings of the Spanish state—Ed.)
The program with Saudi Arabia will start at the beginning of next year in the Cadiz shipyard, once the contract has entered into full force.
In his first parliamentary appearance since he assumed the Presence of SEPI in June of this year, Vicente Fernández reported on the status of the contract signed with the Saudi Government for the construction of five corvettes. "It will mostly benefit the Bay of Cádiz, where the ships will be built and the systems developed; the Dársena de Cartagena, where the engines will be manufactured and the ship control systems will be developed, and the Ría de Ferrol, where the corvettes’ gearboxes will be manufactured.
For the president of SEPI, it is important to describe the context in which this contract is produced, since "it fits perfectly into the industrial plan that we are finalizing for the company, whose latest proposals we are now negotiating with the unions, which have a special relevance to internationalization."
Navantia is one of the leading companies in shipbuilding in the international market, with exports amounting to 10,000 million euros in the last two decades. The president of SEPI recalled that, despite the complex global environment, "the good work of its professionals has allowed the company to achieve significant successes in the foreign market during the last years". In short, according to his own words, "Navantia is one of the companies that all countries would like to have."
Vicente Fernández explained that the strategic plan, in which he works under the supervision of SEPI, plans to assume an order book of close to 11,000 million euros by 2022.
The largest international contract
The amount of the construction of the five corvettes for Saudi Arabia amounts to 1,813 million euros, which is the largest contract in the history of Spanish shipyards with a foreign client.
The president of SEPI stressed that this program will be supported by nearly 6,000 jobs per year for five years, both for Navantia and its subcontractors and suppliers: "more than 1,100 will be direct employees, about 1,800 of the supporting industry and over indirect 3,000 employees."
"In total, more than seven million hours of work will be invested, which will result in one of the most modern corvettes in the world. It will be a markedly Spanish product, as our industry will contribute more than 80% to the high technology that the program incorporates," Vicente Fernández added.
From the technological point of view, the contract will allow the company to control the complete configuration of the ship, which will serve as "definitive support to Navantia to exhibit and demonstrate its industrial capabilities."
The president of SEPI has also detailed that the contract signed on July 15 gives Navantia the realization of life cycle support for five years, with the option of an additional five. This will require the permanent establishment in the Naval Base of Jeddah of an office integrated by a multidisciplinary team of technicians of the company.
Transformation of shipyards
The Navantia Strategic Plan seeks to get workload for all its centers, as explained by the president of the company, Susana de Sarriá. Technological innovation and the progressive rejuvenation of the workforce are also key aspects of the Plan that is currently negotiated with the unions.
In her speech at the Committee on Industry after the appearance of the president of SEPI, Susana de Sarriá pointed out that the need to adapt to market conditions and the company's own situation "make it unavoidable to address an in-depth transformation of Navantia that prepare for the great challenges that we will have to face in the future ".
The Strategic Plan of Navantia 2018-2022 is structured in three axes: Commercial and Operations Plan, which aims to guarantee revenues in the coming years; Operational Efficiency Plan and Shipyard 4.0, to move towards operational excellence by maximizing the margin of the programs; and Staff Rejuvenation Plan and New Labor Relations Framework, which includes the incorporation of new workers, an ambitious Training Plan that will reach 925,000 hours and a single collective agreement for all groups.
Regarding the status of the negotiation, Susana de Sarriá said that currently two tables are open: "The first formed by SEPI, Navantia and the most representative trade union organizations has held five meetings, which have reviewed the three pillars of the Strategic Plan. The second table is formed by the Negotiating Committee of the I Collective Collective Agreement of the company and has held six meetings in which two thirds of the future agreement was reviewed. "