Uljanik shipyard in Pula (Photo: Dusko Marušić/PIXSELL) Uljanik shipyard in Pula (Photo: Dusko Marušić/PIXSELL)

The court was expected to decide on Friday whether the company’s bankruptcy plan would be approved or if Uljanik would be liquidated. However, government representatives asked that the current bankruptcy manager be replaced by another custodian, whom they have asked to draft a new bankruptcy plan. Unions expressed disappointment over the decision.

An existing plan that received the backing of unions and local government, envisaged the formation of a new company, where creditors would become owners in a debt for equity swap. That company would take out a loan to finish a ship currently on its docks. The money received from that contract would be used to finish three other pending orders. However, the judge dismissed the plan as insufficient.

Economy Minister Darko Horvat said the government wanted a custodian with more experience to handle the matter.

"The government wants the person leading this process to be someone with experience, who has done this a few times before. No one is talking about liquidation right now. Our wish is that in both Rijeka and Pula the shipyards finish the ships that are on their docks," Horvat said.

The request to replace the bankruptcy manager means another hearing will have to be held next week to confirm the new custodian. The court will also decide then whether to ask for a re-drafting of the current plan or order the drafting of an entirely new one, which could take months.