Uljanik Shipyard on the Brink of Bankruptcy

Total Croatia News

ZAGREB, March 20, 2019 – Economy Minister Darko Horvat said on Wednesday, when asked by the press if bankruptcy would be cheaper for the Uljanik shipyard than restructuring, that initially numbers would show that bankruptcy was cheaper but that, in the long run, this was not certain.

“In the first stage, the numbers will certainly show that it’s cheaper to file for bankruptcy, but in the long run, in the next ten years, it’s a matter to discuss. We certainly won’t get the exact figure and will have to simulate some things, I suppose,” he said.

Asked ahead of a ruling coalition meeting if the coalition should decide today whether Uljanik should file for bankruptcy or be restructured, Horvat said the coalition would not make decisions but that it would talk.

Asked how much restructuring would cost, he said 930 million euro. “That’s between 6.8 and 7 billion kuna.”

Speaking to the press ahead of the meeting, Finance Minister Zdravko Marić said taxpayers had the right to see how much had been paid for Uljanik so far and how much more had to be paid. “Things are very serious. We have paid quite large amounts so far. A few days ago, I said 3.1 billion kuna had been paid in enforced guarantees so far for the building of mainly non-existent ships.”

Asked to comment on Horvat’s claim that between 6.8 and 7 billion kuna was needed for Uljanik’s restructuring, Marić said he could comment only on exact figures. “Certainly, the whole financial aspect should be taken into account because it’s not small but… I’m also looking at the big picture, the significance, worth and importance of the shipbuilding industry in all these years. We are all saying it’s a strategic industry, DZS (national statistical office) figures shed a different light and all of that should be taken into account.”

Marić would not comment on Horvat’s statement that bankruptcy would be cheaper for Uljanik, saying that one should look at the bigger picture and that the ruling coalition would discuss the matter today.

Asked if a concrete decision might be made today, he said he would not speculate.

MPs Tulio Demetlika of the Istrian Democratic Party and Silvano Hrelja of the Croatian Pensioners Party urged the government on Wednesday to give the ailing Uljanik shipyard the same chance it had given every other shipyard and save the essence of Croatia’s shipbuilding.

Speaking at a press conference, Demetlika said Uljanik deserved the same treatment as the shipyards restructured a few years ago. He said the state had indeed invested 31 billion kuna in shipbuilding but that it reluctantly pointed out that 37% of that had gone to Brodosplit, 30% to 3. Maj, 15% to Brodotrogir and only 10% to Uljanik.

Demetlika said he was confident Uljanik could get back on its feet and again drive the development of the city of Pula if run conscientiously and responsibly.

He said he dock had become synonymous with the incumbent government’s ignorance and incompetence, which he accused of having issued guarantees without any supervision and of shifting responsibility to the local government, although it is the largest shareholder in Uljanik.

Demetlika accused the government of having deliberately causing the workers’ strike in Uljanik and of a total lack of transparency concerning the dock. He called on the government to consider its omissions when adopting a political decision on Uljanik’s fate.

He also said it was inconceivably irresponsible that one minister claimed restructuring was the best option and another claimed the opposite. “Does anyone in the government wonder why world players should invest in Croatia’s shipbuilding industry when even the government doesn’t know what to do about it?”

Hrelja told the same press conference that the government had invested HRK 31 billion in shipyards to cover the losses of its own companies and buy social peace, and that it had never known what to do about shipbuilding, causing huge damage to the reputation of the country and the industry.

He said it was important to save “the essence of Croatia’s shipbuilding”, not administrative jobs but production, adding that a ship currently under construction “means 2% of GDP.” He too said “no world corporation or private businessman would enter into such a messy state of affairs.”

Hrelja said Croatia had serious experts who could bring order to Croatia’s shipbuilding and control financing so that the state could become a majority owner. He added that Italy was “a successful model” showing that it could be done.

More news on Uljanik can be found in the Business section.


Subscribe to our newsletter

the fields marked with * are required
Email: *
First name:
Last name:
Gender: Male Female
Please don't insert text in the box below!

Leave a Comment