Chinese Delegation Visiting Shipping Institute

Total Croatia News

ZAGREB, May 21, 2019 – Economy, Entrepreneurship and Crafts Minister Darko Horvat said on Monday that a delegation of the China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSIC) was visiting the Shipping Institute in Zagreb and that it would be visiting the 3. Maj dock on Tuesday.

Horvat told reporters outside Government House that the Chinese delegation was at the Shipping Institute and that the meeting there could be yet one more good meeting “the delegation had hinted at” the last time it visited Croatia.

The minister said that the delegation would visit the Rijeka-based 3. Maj shipyard tomorrow and would then meet with him on Tuesday evening. “I think that then we will have a little more information about what exactly they have seen and what their feelings are at the moment,” said Horvat.

Asked whether the Chinese delegation was interested only in 3. Maj and not the Uljanik shipyard since it had announced only a visit to 3. Maj, Horvat recalled that during its last visit, the Chinese delegation spent a day and a half at Uljanik and only a few hours at 3. Maj.

He said that the visiting delegation was more of a technical nature.

Asked how the Chinese company could become involved in developments regarding the Uljanik shipbuilding group (comprising the Pula-based Uljanik dock and the Rijeka-based 3. Maj) considering that it was not interested in strategic partnership, Horvat said that diversification of production was discussed at the talks conducted during the delegation’s last visit and that the Pula and Rijeka docks need not exclusively and necessarily produce only ships.

Asked about a request by the Jan De Nul company for a refund of a down payment for a dredger that is being built at Uljanik, Horvat said that a new proposal had been sent to Luxembourg and that Croatia was not prepared to pay all the interest Jan De Nul had requested as compensation. “We can accept both scenarios – the ship’s being completed at the Pula dock or its being towed away. We are negotiating the cost of both options,” he said.

Asked whether he still believed that the cost would not be more than 30 million euro as mentioned, Horvat said that about 17 million euro was required to complete the ship. “Any additional risks should not amount to more than 22 million euro, and should we have to pay for towing, the cost will amount to a maximum 30 million that we are willing to pay,” he added.

Asked whether it might have been cheaper for the state to have paid workers their wages to complete the ships under construction and thus avoid the enforcement of guarantees, considering that it would pay about 5 billion kuna in all for the shipyards, including interest, Horvat said that over the past 18 months the state had exploited every legitimate method to help workers.

He said that representatives of the Croatian Employment Service would inform workers of the Pula-based Uljanik dock, for which bankruptcy proceedings have been opened, about their rights. “The state is doing all it can within its remit,” he said.

Asked about three ships that will be transferred to state ownership and what the state intended to do with them as well as whether they would be completed in Uljanik or some other shipyard, Horvat said that the government was willing to become involved in the completion of those ships only and exclusively as part of the bankruptcy plan and on a market basis.

“If we manage to invest less for their completion than their market value and if we will have a buyer when they are completed, then we can discuss the completion and interim financing by the government. If there is no market basis, then the government won’t enter any such process,” he said.

Considering that Uljanik’s former CEOs were released from investigative custody earlier in the day, reporters wanted to know if the public would ever know “who is guilty,” to which Horvat said that he did not wish to comment on the court’s decision.

The County Court in Rijeka on Monday ordered the release of six suspects in the Uljanik fraud case from investigative detention.

More news about Croatian shipbuilding industry can be found in the Business section.


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