Next week, a delegation of eighteen people from the largest Chinese shipyard, the China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation, are set to visit Croatia’s ailing Uljanik.
As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 26th of April, 2019, this is the second day is the National Economy and Entrepreneurship Consulting conference, organised by the Ministry of Economy and Entrepreneurship in Vodice. Economy Minister Darko Horvat told N1 televizija that the Republic of Croatia ”wants to become a country of investment and development, even if it isn’t there yet”.
“What I do dare to say, and with full certainty, is that Croatia has an innovative network, we have to make every effort to create positive trends, but we can’t expect a big boom in just one or two intensive years, but the trends are changing. What makes me happy is that our own accumulation which has been earned by entrepreneurs is slowly returning back into circulation, that this money is no longer sitting in banks, in accounts. This gives us the encouragement that we’ll gain that momentum this year, too,” Darko Horvat stated.
How much have the problems with Uljanik slowed the economy down?
“They stopped any acceleration. Given the fact that so far, we’ve spent nearly three and a half billion kuna on guarantees,” Horvat said.
The Dredging and Maritime Management company, owned by the Jan De Nul Group, requires Uljanik to refund all advance payments plus interest on a dredger which is being built in the Pula shipyard, whereby a refund of part of the advance has been secured by state guarantees. Such an outcome could cost the Croatian state almost one billion kuna.
“The contracted period is seven days, but I’m not sure that will happen in that time because Uljanik has no liquid funds and we’ll have to continue talks and negotiations with Jan De Nul. And Mr. De Nul is aware that these talks end up going nowhere if he decides on the forcible charging of advances, he’s aware that the shipyard in Pula isn’t ready to complete that vessel.
If the Chinese do decide to invest in Uljanik, then there are two variants, Horvat said: “to enter as a strategic partner, or to buy one shipyard, and the other, and become the 100 percent owners.”
The court decision in Pazin has, for the third time, postponed the bankruptcy hearing for Uljanik.
“Regardless of the court’s decision, we’ll continue talking with the Chinese,” Horvat said.
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