Tomislav Debeljak Opens Bankruptcy of Norwegian Shipyard

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Brnic writes on the 6th of July, 2020, DIV's Croatian owner Tomislav Debeljak filed an official petition on Friday in Norway to open bankruptcy proceedings over his shipyard, Kleven Verft, and its two subsidiaries, of which he became the owner earlier this year.

As it could be read from the Norwegian media, such an outcome came to be after a group of banks terminated a loan agreement for Kleven for one construction and blocked its associated accounts.

Last week, Tomislav Debeljak tried to negotiate with the banks, assuming that their actions were unfounded, but the negotiations didn't result in an agreement and a return to the starting positions, so Debeljak requested the initiation of bankruptcy proceedings.

The loan cancelled by the banks related to the financing of the construction that Kleven, allegedly under pressure from the "locals", took over from another Norwegian shipyard which was about to go bankrupt, but from the statements from DIV it can be concluded that this was only a reason which was listed formally.

The banks went for the termination of the contract after the appointment of the new Management Board back on June the 22nd, more precisely when the dismissal of the top managers and the arrival of Tomislav Debeljak himself as the CEO took place.

He told the local Norwegian media that DIV, in addition to the fact that the clients were affected by the coronavirus pandemic and as such needed to alter their plans, also faced a number of other difficulties due to which the initial business plan for Kleven was drastically changed.

"Shortly after the formal takeover of Kleven, it became clear that not everyone shared our goal of making Kleven a strong and stable shipyard," Tomislav Debeljak said in a statement.

DIV has been reluctant to provide the details, and they only briefly noted they will work to protect their interests and investment, and that they have already launched their own investigation to establish all the facts which led to the move. It has been unofficially circulating that the former managers were fired due to suspicions of concluding harmful contracts for Kleven.

"Based on the results of the investigation, we'll decide on the following activities in cooperation with the institutions of the Kingdom of Norway and the Republic of Croatia," a statement from DIV said.

The shipyard in Ulstein was taken over by DIV after being named the most promising bidder by several Norwegian shipping companies. The details and value of the takeover of Kleven, which was already on the verge of bankruptcy, aren't currently known, so it's difficult to assess the damage that DIV has suffered with this failed acquisition, from which good results were expected in Croatia and Norway through the synergy of the two shipyards.

The first project to be done jointly was presented just a month ago, and it regards the construction of the luxury residential yacht M/Y Njord, which is 281.8 metres long and 33.5 metres wide, boasting 12 platforms and 118 apartments ranging from 116 to 800 square metres in size.

Its construction was contracted for Ocean Residences Development from Malta, and the first phase, the hull construction and its installation should begin this year in Brodosplit, while equipping the vessel at Kleven should be completed in 2024.

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