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

A key decision ahead of the government of Prime Minister Andrej Plenković is to choose between restructuring and receivership for the Uljanik and 3 Maj shipyards. At today's meeting Economy Minister Darko Horvat and Finance Minister Zdravko Marić informed coalition partners that for the Uljanik shipyard restructuring would cost double the amount of putting the company into receivership, roughly 400 million Euro more.

"This entire time I have been trying to show that the situation is very serious, that we have already paid in a large sum of money, which, as I said a few days ago currently stands at 3.1 billion Kuna. That is 31, billion Kuna in guarantees for the construction of ships, ships that for the most part don't exist," Minister Marić said.

Economy Minister Horvat however, feels that restructuring is possible. "We have reduced those figures in the billions that we have been hearing endlessly about down to an optimum 930 million Euro for the entire restructuring program, which is between 6.8 and 7 billion Kuna. Initially, it would definitely be cheaper to pursue receivership. However, in the long run, over the next ten years ... that's also an issue of debate. We definitely will not get an exact figure to the Kuna, and we will have to simulate and assume some things."

Most of the HDZ's coalition partners are wary of handing the either shipyard any more money. The leader of the Croatian Demo-Christian Party Branko Hrg is among them. "I am absolutely opposed to handing shipyards another Kuna of budgetary funds on faith and without knowing what's going on. 15.5 billion Kuna have already been pumped into those two shipyards. No one is being held accountable for those funds, the money is gone and the companies are in financial troubles."

For her part President Kolinda Grabar Kitarović says she is hopeful that receivership can be avoided. "I am hopeful that some kind of restructuring will be tried. Because I'm not looking simply at short term final gain or loss. In the long term shipbuilding is a strategic industry for Croatia. However, not this kind that we've had up until now, with which we obviously cannot compete with the Asian market."

Source: HRT