Government has postponed a decision on restructuring or bankruptcy for the Uljanik Group, which owns the Uljanik and 3 Maj shipyards.
The final decision will be based on a financial assessment provided by the Economy Ministry. "Everything that has been paid up until now, meaning the rescue aid, part of the salaries paid out, and the guarantees paid out, are part of the restructuring program. And I simply must correct all of those people who are now talking about an additional 5 or 7 billion, because right now, based on our estimates, we are talking about a total amount required for restructuring of some 930 million Euro," said Economy Minister Darko Horvat.
However, Finance Minister Zdravko Marić is less than confident with the figures provided by the economy minister. "Every option should be considered. However, we also have to take into account the benefits and the costs. For the most part I have addressed the costs. If we are talking about an additional 7, 8 or 10 billion Kuna, on top of the 35 billion we have already pumped into Croatia's shipbuilding sector, I honestly don't know how to justify that to anyone. But, I repeat, we will address this calculation and assume a clear position on it."
And while unions claim that by postponing a final decision on bankruptcy or restructuring, government has turned its back on workers, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković commented on the discrepancy between his two minister's assessment of the possible costs of restructuring.
"There is no problem between the ministers. We have to adopt decisions that show responsibility towards Croatian tax payers, decisions that extend a hand to the continuity of Croatian shipbuilding, but we cannot continue as we did before, when massive state subsidies, tax payer money, was invested, and in spite of this the majority of these shipyards ended up in the status of companies in difficulty, and when tax payers de facto revived them. With regard to Uljanik, obviously a number of wrong business decisions were adopted, which generated massive debts. We have to see what is wiser and sustainable for the shipbuilding sector, the Croatian economy and the budget at this time," the prime minister said.
Meanwhile, the Chief State Prosecutor Dražen Jelenić said that authorities are looking into possible criminality in Uljanik Group's downfall.
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