The Danish company ScanTech Marine, which specialized in the repairs of advanced ship technology in China, has gone bankrupt due to the pandemic. In an interview with Danish media BT, former CEO Kristian Raabjerg Hansen talks about how the crisis affected his life’s work and how it has motivated him to rebuild his company.
39-year-old Kristian Raabjerg Hansen is a trained ship fitter. He built up the successful company ScanTech Marine, which made its profits primarily from sending its Danish experts to China, where many shipowners choose to have their large ships repaired.
Pandemic-related border closures quickly affected ScanTech Marine’s activities. Kristian Raabjerg Hansen explains that the crisis hit his company right away as China closed down the country and its borders three to four months before Denmark did.
As orders stopped coming in, Kristian Raabjerg Hansen saw no other way than to start letting his 16 employees go one by one until he was the only one left. Last month, he had to let his life’s work go bankrupt and leave the creditors with a loss of DKK 1.5 million.
“It’s hard, and it has had very big personal consequences – also in terms of family. But you have to rise again,” Kristian Raabjerg Hansen says.
Being a stubborn North Jutlander native, however, he refused to let the pandemic get the best of his life’s work. He bought the pieces of his bankrupt company from the creditors for his own private money and is now in the process of rebuilding the company under the same name – but with a new concept.
Instead of sending his own employees out into the world to repair ships, he has entered into agreements with companies in China, Poland, and Turkey that will perform the tasks. Kristian Raabjerg Hansen will manage it all from his home office in Frederikshavn, Denmark.
Kristian Raabjerg Hansen has also established himself as a consultant who advises companies on how they can develop business and adapt to a changing world while also studying for an MBA.
Kristian Raabjerg Hansen says that it’s been a stressful time for him and that he had to look deep inside himself to find the energy to start over. Looking back, he is glad that he was honest with his creditors and former employees throughout the downturn.
“My employees have been so understanding. As one of them said, ‘Kristian, you must not think of me. I’ve got a new job.’ I was very moved by that,” he says.
The bankruptcy and downturn have also opened Kristian Raabjerg Hansen’s eyes to a different way of living and a more balanced work/life strategy.
“It’s about prioritizing. I have found a better balance now,” he says.