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Croatia to privatize shipbuilders

Croatia to privatize shipbuilders
Croatia plans to make another attempt to sell off five shipyards in January next year after the previous tender failed.

Croatia plans to make another attempt to sell off five shipyards in January next year after the previous tender failed.

Croatia plans to make another attempt to sell off five shipyards in January next year after the previous tender failed. The country must privatize the shipbuilders and stop subsidies if it wants to join the European Union, but it rejected two bids it received for two of the yards in September. The only profitable plant, Uljanik, is being offered at HRK 300 ($62.07) per share for a 59.25% slice, with a further 25% up for grabs by employees at a discount.

Loss-making 3 Maj, Kraljevica, Brodosplit and Brodotrogir are for sale at a token HRK 1 plus debts.

"The government will call a second round of the shipyards' sell-off on 6 January, 2010," state radio reported. If the second round also fails, all the shipyards except Uljanik are headed for bankruptcy, a move which could burden the government with billions of kuna of debt it has guaranteed.

The only offers it received in September were for Brodotrogir and Brodosplit. A local company wanted to turn Brodotrogir into an apartment and tourist facility, while another domestic firm offered HRK 5m for Brodosplit and wants to invest HRK 13m in its restructure.

The government had pledged to give priority to companies who wanted to continue shipbuilding over those bidding at higher prices. Serbian tycoon Philip Zepter and Croatian mining magnate Danko Koncar had registered interest in the sales, but no bids were forthcoming.

The yards employ 12,000 people, while tens of thousands depend on the industry directly or indirectly.

www.TurkishMaritime.com.tr

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