Prime Minister Hopeful about Uljanik Shipyard’s Future

Total Croatia News

ZAGREB, August 20, 2018 – Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Sunday, while commenting on the latest developments in the Uljanik shipyard and a delay in the payment of salaries to workers for July, that his cabinet conducted permanent dialogue with the management of the shipyard.

“Uljanik is a private company and we are engaged in the plan for restructuring and communication with the European Commission. In January, the government issued guarantees in the amount of 96 million euro, and I can see some commenting on the matter are not aware of that, and those funds enabled the functioning of Uljanik since the New Year to date,” Plenković said, adding that it was essential to find a good agreement with strategic partners.

Plenković, who was attending the 43rd Prstenac Race medieval jousting tournament in Barban, Istria County, said that the ministries of economy and finance were intensively involved in the dialogue.

It remains to be seen whether certain funds could be ensured via the Croatian Bank for Reconstruction and Development so as to make it possible for the dock to complete the orders and continue functioning as well as to enable the functioning of other members of the Uljanik Group, according to Plenković’s explanation.

In mid-January, Croatia’s government authorised the Finance Ministry to issue a state guarantee in the amount of 96 million euro in favour of Croatian Postal Bank (Hrvatska Poštanska Banka) and/or some other commercial banks in the country and/or abroad for a credit commitment of the Pula-based Uljanik shipyard for the implementation of a restructuring process as well as financial consolidation of the company.

Finance Minister Zdravko Marić said then that the Pula-headquartered company could be categorised as an enterprise in financial trouble, having in mind the fact that the shipyard’s survival would not be possible without state intervention.

The company “ULJANIK Brodogradilište d.d. Pula” meets two out of the four requirements in accordance with the European Commission’s guidelines for rescuing and restructuring non-financial undertakings in difficulty, Marić said then, citing the undertaking’s book debt to equity ratio and EBITDA interest coverage ratio. He also said that the state aid was made in order to help salvage the company before the elaboration of a restructuring programme.

The allocation of the state aid would be conducted upon approval from the European Commission in compliance with the EC guidelines.

Later in January, the European Commission cleared rescue aid for Croatia’s shipbuilder Uljanik in the northern Adriatic city of Pula. “The European Commission has found Croatian plans to grant Uljanik shipyard a state guarantee for a 96 million euro loan are in line with EU state aid rules. The measure will allow the company to meet urgent liquidity needs while preparing a restructuring plan, whilst competition distortions are limited,” a press release said.

As for the statement from the Social Democratic Party (SDP) leader Davor Bernardić that the government ignored for the two years the problems facing Uljanik and that such developments were in the interest of big capital, Plenković answered ironically that he was “amazed by that information”.


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