BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany’s second-largest defence group Thyssenkrupp Marine Systems (TKMS) wants to play a leading role in consolidating the German and European shipyard industry, its new Chief Executive Officer told German newspaper Welt am Sonntag.

“If the road to a European giant is still too difficult, a German champion could be formed first,” Oliver Burkhard was quoted by the newspaper as saying.

Burkhard said a merger, for example, could be formed with smaller German rivals Luerssen and German Naval Yards (GNYK).

The company has been building up additional capacity since the German government’s announcement of a 100 billion euro special fund for the military after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Burkhard added.

“We are also actively looking for new production sites. There are a number of possibilities,” he said, adding that the company was interested in buying parts of cruise ship builder MV Werften, which filed for insolvency in January this year.

(Reporting by Riham Alkousaa; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)