Rijeka's Treći Maj shipyard is on the brink of bankruptcy (Photo: Goran Kovacic/PIXSELL) Rijeka's Treći Maj shipyard is on the brink of bankruptcy (Photo: Goran Kovacic/PIXSELL)

The judge handling the case has named Zdravko Čupković as temporary bankruptcy manager for Treći Maj. His job will be to assess the financial state of the dock, including its assets, and determine whether conditions have been met to begin bankruptcy procedures, said spokesperson Ema Brdovčak on Friday.

Čupković has managed several high-profile bankruptcies and will begin working on Monday when Treći Maj's employees return to work after the holiday break. A new hearing has been scheduled for February 6. This latest development in the case leaves the Uljanik Group two months to find an investor to save the company.

Treći Maj's debts are significantly less than what the shipyard is owed by its parent, the Uljanik Group, whose former managers are responsible for the debt. The Uljanik Group's Director Emil Bulić said on Friday he was counting on finding an investor to solve the situation.

Economy Minister Darko Horvat says he also expects the situation to turn around by the end of the month. Four parties have expressed interest in becoming Uljanik's strategic partner, he said, underscoring that are capable of bridging the 150 million kuna gap that is pushing Treći Maj towards bankruptcy.

Prime Minister Andrej Plenković told HRT he believes Treći Maj and Uljanik do have a future, underscoring that over the past year, the government had guaranteed a loan to keep the group afloat and was now helping with the search for a new investor.

"I think a partner will be found because the parties that have shown interest and have been to Pula and Rijeka have sent signals that they are serious about becoming a strategic partner. The government wants that strategic partner to be a true partner, who will bring cash and will be willing to invest with a plan, rather than, as has been the case up to now, count on the government to bear the costs of restructuring," Plenković said.

Meanwhile, workers at the Uljanik shipyard in Pula will return to work on Monday. The strike committee has decided not to support a work stoppage. Union leader Boris Cerovac says they will decide how to proceed once they have some concrete information from management and the government on the new developments with the potential investors.