Two Strategic Partners Interested in Uljanik Shipyard, Says Minister

Total Croatia News

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ZAGREB, November 22, 2018 – Economy Minister Darko Horvat said after the government session on Thursday that currently two serious strategic partners were interested in Uljanik, adding that in the end a decision would be made which partner is better for the Pula-based shipyard.

Asked if there was anything new regarding Uljanik, Horvat told the press there was nothing new. He added that his ministry expected a response from a potential strategic partner from Ukraine Smart Holding Group next week, adding that Italy’s Fincantieri had already submitted its letter of intent.

Asked if the decision about a strategic partner would be made before the expiration of the 120-day deadline for automatic launch of bankruptcy procedure, having in mind that only about 20 days remain before the deadline runs out, Horvat said he was the last person to accede to the bankruptcy in Rijeka and Pula. “Until we exhaust all legal options available, there will be no bankruptcy,” Horvat said.

Commenting on a reporter’s remark that based on guarantees issued early this year, the only options at the moment are liquidation or restructuring and bankruptcy is out of the question, Horvat said he could partially agree with that statement, stressing that the state issued guarantees and was supposed to cover them to keep credibility, otherwise there was no point in issuing such guarantees.

Prime Minister Andrej Plenković on Monday received the owner of Ukraine’s Smart Holding Group, Vadim Novinski, for talks on its interest in investing in Croatia’s ailing Uljanik shipbuilding group. Novinski requested more detailed information about the current state of affairs in Uljanik and it was agreed that the Economy Ministry, in cooperation with the group’s management, would provide it.

The president of the management board of the Split-based Brodosplit shipyard, Tomislav Debeljak, said after talks with representatives of the strike committee at the 3. Maj dock in Rijeka on Tuesday that Brodosplit would decide after due diligence if it was interested in investing in the ailing Rijeka shipyard.

Brodosplit or the DIV Group, owned by Debeljak, has expressed interest in possibly entering the 3. Maj dock together with the Ficantieri shipbuilding company from Italy. When asked outright if he was entering the ownership structure of 3. Maj, Debeljak said that that was a too explicit question and that he had come to the dock to see what could be done.

For more on Croatia’s troubled shipyards, click here.


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