Croatia said it has received just one bid from a local company for a
major shipyard it is trying to privatise to satisfy a key condition for
wrapping up its European Union entry talks by July. Monday, 07.Feb.2011, 19:37 (GMT+3)
A newly built tanker awaits her launch at shipyard 3rd May (3.Maj shipyard) in the northern Adriatic port of Rijeka.
Croatia said it has received just one bid from a local company for a major shipyard it is trying to privatise to satisfy a key condition for wrapping up its European Union entry talks by July.
Restructuring of the docks, which are heavily subsidised contrary to the EU competition rules, is needed if Zagreb to complete its entry talks with the trading block. The head of the state privatisation fund, Vedran Duvnjak, said the bidder had already expressed interest in acquiring some other docks.
After a failed tender due to a withdrawal of a German-based investor, the 3 Maj shipyard located in the northern Adriatic port of Rijeka was again offered for a token price of 1 kuna. The bidder had to submit a restructuring plan which includes a strong capital injection for modernisation.
The plan must also be approved by the European Commission which is now reviewing the viability of the privatisation programmes for four other ailing Croatian shipyards. The decision from Brussels is expected this month.
The shipbuilding overhaul is a sensitive issue as the docks employ some 11,000 people and many small businesses are also involved as contractors.
The government wants to keep the industry afloat and avoid major job losses. The shipyards have been making losses for years and the government, struggling with fragile public finances, may have to take over up to 12 billion kuna ($2.24 billion) of loans to the docks which it guaranteed in the past.