Military Contracts

French Shipbuilder's Lawsuit Could Freeze German Naval Order

  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Should shipbuilder Iskandar Safa sue the German government for being excluded from bidding for a recent warship contract, it could cause serious delays to the launch of Germany’s next batch of corvettes as well as the new generation of frigates.

  • Facts


    • Germany is under pressure to double its defense spending as a proportion of GDP.
    • The German navy is waiting on €10 billion, or $10.8 billion, worth of new equipment, including a fleet of five corvette warships and a batch of MKS 180 frigates.
    • French shipbuilding magnate Iskandar Safa wants in on a consortium to build the new vessels – and is threatening legal action if excluded.
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main 78861680 source Picture-Alliance Bernd Von Jutrczenka DPA – Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen Ship navy army port of Rostock July 2015
Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen could face delays in the delivery of new ships. Source: Picture-Alliance / Bernd Von Jutrczenka / DPA

The last Mediterranean winter storm has moved on, and a spring breeze is now wafting through the French Riviera city of Cannes. On a hill above the Côte d’Azur playground for the rich and famous, the Lebanese-French businessman and shipbuilding magnate, Iskandar Safa has built his office – a one story building, which also houses a part of his art dealership. Two curators belong to the 120-man team which manages his 1350 hectare property.

But these days, Mr. Safa is hardly concerned about his art business – not to mention his stud farm or golf course. Even real estate projects have lost their luster. It’s Germany that is on his mind.

On the German coast between the North Sea port of Emden, near the Dutch border, and the Baltic port of Wolgast, near the Polish border, Mr. Safa owns three ship-building yards. There, he builds mega-yachts and naval ships, and although his business building luxury boats for the super-rich is going strong, his naval manufacturing business is currently a cause for concern. As it stands, the German government is seeking to exclude him from their next big project.

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