Thursday, 1 April 2021

Croatian Shipyards Generate Work for Other Local Manufacturers

April the 1st, 2021 - Croatian shipyards, although the unfortunate subject of a lot of negative press of late, generate an enormous amount of work for other local industries and manufacturers which rely to some extent or another on their proper functioning.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Suzana Varosanec writes, owing to the dynamic development of cooperation between Norwegian fishing boat customers who purchase from Croatian shipbuilders and CroNoMara, there are now as many as four Croatian shipyards which are Norwegian partners - the Iskra shipyard in Sibenik, Tehnomont, shipyard Ostro and Nuic Nautika.

When it comes to their products and their full compliance with delivery deadlines, even the coronavirus crisis failed to prove to be a threat, as shown by the ordered deliveries, but it isn't the same case with new orders.

As many as four vessels from the Sibenik-based shipyard have been delivered over the last ten days, five more are currently under construction, each worth one million euros, but overall, this year the Norwegian share of business seems to have fallen somewhat.

While the Sibenik shipyard's 20 million in revenue back during 2020 brought 14 million euros in jobs for the Norwegians, the pandemic is slowing down new orders in 2021 as those ships are used in the salmon industry for the tourism market which is recording a sharp decline.

The solution lies in new Croatian business: they will soon start with Tehnomont in the realisation of a project for search and rescue at sea, worth 60 million kuna, involving the construction of six ships.

Cooperation is clearly expanding and work ships for Norway are reducing their share of imports. When it comes to aluminum catamarans and single hulls as work and service ships in the aquaculture sector, these works done by Croatian shipyards encourage the development of the local component through the installation of materials and equipment of the manufacturer.

According to Ana Zajc, a senior project consultant at CroNoMar, in the beginning, the ships were equipped exclusively from imports, while today Croatian producers participate in at least 40 percent of that part of business.

Croatian shipyards, as emphasised by Zajc, have had their high quality of provided services confirmed, and they've also been commended for their flexibility, because the models and equipment of these Croatian built ships are always adapted to the needs of the end customer and different types of ships can be constructed in Croatian shipyards.

So far, 118 ships have been built and delivered to the Norwegian market.

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Wednesday, 11 November 2020

Could "New Build 526" Represent New Start for Enfeebled Pula Shipbuilding?

As Novac/Vedran Marjanovic writes on the 10th of November, 2020, for several weeks now, the Kuwaiti shipowner Livestock Transport and Trading Company has been unsuccessfully trying to agree with the Croatian state administration on the completion of the construction of the largest ship in the world for the transport of live cattle in Pula's Uljanik - New build 526/Novogradnja 526.

As confirmed to Jutarnji list from several sources, the aforementioned Kuwaiti company which operates within the Al Mawashi group, and whose business is the transport of live cattle, came across the walls put up by Croatia's state institutions after they expressed interest in Uljanik's construction of New build 526, a livestock carrier, which is now sitting in an unfinished state at the Pula shipyard.

''There's a buyer for the vessel, the vessel is there at a certain degree of completion, there is equipment for the ship that is in the warehouses of Uljanik, and there is the company Uljanik shipbuilding 1856 which the state founded to continue shipbuilding in Pula with workers and capital. Everything is there, but the state has no will, doesn't want to do it, or something else is in question. It doesn't want to sit down with the Kuwaitis and finish the job,'' explained the interlocutor, who is well acquainted with Al Mawashi's contacts with Uljanik.

He doesn't want his name or surname to be revealed, but he claims that a representative of Al Mawashi was at both the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development and at the Ministry of Finance, which represent the state's interest in the bankruptcy of Uljanik, and put forward an offer from the Kuwaitis to buy Uljanik's New build 526.

''The Kuwaitis are well known to both Uljanik and Croatia's state institutions because they ordered the construction of New build 526 back in 2015, but in April 2019, like most of Uljanik's clients, they terminated that contract due to the opening of bankruptcy proceedings in the Pula shipyard. Now they're ready to get back into business, they want to buy the vessel and that's the only commitment any serious investor can take on at this stage of construction. Everything else about the completion of the vessel is up to the state, which constantly repeats this mantra that shipbuilding in Uljanik hasn't been shut down,'' the interlocutor explained.

New build 526, or what has been done so far in terms of its construction, isn't formally owned by the state at this time, but is part of the bankruptcy estate of Uljanik d.d., whose main creditor is the state. Hence, the representative of Al Mawashi "knocked" on the door of the two ministries that represent the interests of the state in the bankruptcy drama surrounding Uljanik.

The Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development didn't confirm or deny the information that a representative had made an offer to purchase New build 526.

''New build 526 is part of the bankruptcy estate of the company Uljanik d.d. Bankruptcy proceedings against Uljanik d.d. were opened on May the 20th, 2019. The Bankruptcy Trustee is taking care of the protection and liquidation of the bankruptcy estate,'' the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development briefly stated. It's quite clear from this answer that they don't intend to get involved in saving New build 526.

In other words, the state doesn't want to separate New build 526 from the bankruptcy estate of Uljanik d.d. as it has done in some other cases. Nor does it want to invest in the completion of the vessel and sell it to the Kuwaitis and thus charge for the investment. There has, as yet, been no answer from the Ministry of Finance to questions about negotiations with the Kuwaitis and the state’s plans as the main creditor in the bankruptcy of Uljanik with the construction of this vessel.

Shifting the blame

''According to the information I have, the Kuwaitis are losing patience and will definitely give up buying by the end of the year at the latest. If this happens and the ship doesn't find another buyer, it's clear that it is very likely a huge damage, for which, according to the old custom in our country, no one will be responsible,'' noted the source.

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Friday, 22 May 2020

VIDEO: Ultramarine - 128 Metre-Long Polar Cruiser Launched in Split

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 21st of May, 2020, the loan for Ultramarine's construction was provided by HBOR, and the guarantee was given by the Government of the Republic of Croatia back on the 16th of May, 2018 with its decision.

A few days ago, Newbuild (Novogradnja) 487, a passenger ship for polar expeditions, which will be named "Ultramarine", was launched in the Shipbuilding Industry Split.

The President of the Management Board of Brodosplit, Tomislav Debeljak, thanked the workers of the Split shipyard for being able to complete such a significant project in the challenging times of the coronavirus.

The technologically advanced ship for polar expeditions has been contracted with the American company Quark Expeditions, part of the Travelopia Group, which has in its portfolio a number of world companies specializing in adventure travel.

The ultramarine is 128 metres long and 21.5 metres wide, and will be able to accommodate up to 200 passengers who will be cared for by 140 crew members in 103 luxuriously decorated cabins and public spaces and will have an incredible range of adventure options for all of them. Otherwise, the value of the ship is over 106 million euros. The loan for its construction was provided by HBOR, and the guarantee was given by the Government of the Republic of Croatia on 16 May 2018 with its decision.

"After the delivery of the ''Hondius'' polar cruisers, which to the great satisfaction of irs owners and users completed its first Arctic and Antarctic season, this ship will be the new pride of Croatian shipbuilding and the confirmation of Brodosplit's entry into the market of passenger ships of up to 200 metres in length which compete well in the niche of the builders of some of the most modern polar cruisers,'' read a statement from the well known Split-based shipyard - Brodosplit.

Watch the video of Ultramarine's launch below:

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Wednesday, 5 February 2020

Brodosplit Manages to Save Diesel Engine Factory, Avoids Bankruptcy

The shipbuilding industry in Split has not left its company Brodosplit - Diesel Engine Factory (TDM) to go bankrupt, marking a much needed positive outcome for the otherwise enfeebled Croatian shipbuilding industry.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Suzana Varosanec writes on the 4th of February, 2020, the decision to save Brodosplit's diesel engine factory has been set in stone, and according to the company, they have big plans for it. The Commercial Court in Split has confirmed the large company's status as successful.

In line with their commitment to preserving all segments of Brodosplit, the profession and the knowledge acquired in recent decades, and especially the Diesel Engine Factory, Brodosplit states that they have serious plans for the factory, and this is also evidenced by the Commercial Court's decision rejecting the bankruptcy petition and continuing with the company.

They recall that their factory has been producing four-stroke and two-stroke engines under the license of MAN Diesel & Turbo for several decades now, producing more than 180 identical "machines". The production of electronically controlled motors for the last decade represents the very top of technological achievements in this field and they can, in the future, be handled equally by all international marine engine manufacturers.

"However, because of unfair Far Eastern competition that can count on near-endless funding sources, its sustainability has logically been called into question. Nevertheless, our plan is to produce two-stroke LNG engines and motor fuels, the cleanest and most environmentally friendly fossil fuel, and four-stroke auxiliaries. Dual fuel engines will continue to be built in Brodosplit,'' they say.

Thus, the procedure was suspended in order to determine the preconditions for opening bankruptcy proceedings against TDM, initiated upon Fina's proposal three months ago due to a debt of 840,000 kuna, and part of the blockade was already reduced in December.

The court's decision means that this large company is a solvent company, so its statement of access to debt - judged credible and approved by a court - provides creditors with a strong sense of security in terms of securing their claims, within short legal and court deadlines which have been set.

There are several creditors with claims, with the exception of Croatia Osiguranje (Insurance), which alone claims around 500,000 kuna. The statement of access to the debt of January the 29th, 2020, was certified by a notary public, so Brodosplit, in addition to the debtor, undertook the obligation of fulfilling all the obligations of the bankruptcy debtor within two months of the issuance of that court decision.

The Commercial Court states that Brodosplit is classified as a large company with a general liquidity ratio of 0.49 (others of the same size have an average coefficient of 0.26), a coefficient of 1.04 of the ratio of total revenue and expenses (others of the same size have an average of 0.51), and 3.88 percent of profit share in total revenue.

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Sunday, 19 January 2020

VIDEO: Amorella - Viking Line Selling Vessel Constructed at Brodosplit

As Morski writes on the 17th of January, 2020, the Finnish shipping company Viking Line has announced that it is selling "Amorella", a passenger ship of Croatian production which was constructed in the well known Split shipyard Brodosplit.

By the end of 2020, it will be replaced by a new Viking Glory ship arriving from Xiamen Shipyard in China. Amorella sails under the Finnish flag and its home port is Mariehamn, often referred to as the very gateway to the Baltic sea.

The sale was confirmed by Viking Line CEO Jan Hanses. Although, he says, there were shipping companies that showed interest in Amorella, the sale will be delayed until a new ship is delivered to the Finns because the company doesn't want to get itself into the unfortunate situation of not having a vessel at all for a period of time.

M / S Amorella was, as stated, built in Brodosplit, more precisely in the special facilities shipyard. It is the first is of four twin ships: M / S Isabella, M / S Gabriella and M / S Crown Seaways, all of which were built in the aforementioned Split shipyard.

The ship was ceremonially transhipped on September the 28th, 1988. It was the pride of the City of Split and of course of Brodosplit at the time, and the ship can accommodate almost two thousand passengers and 400 vehicles, which was a huge highlight back in the late eighties. The American Maritime Reporter & Engineer News also proclaimed Amorella the most brilliant ship of the year.

Duška Boban and Nikola Bajto have written a book on the ship made in Split called "Amorella - a floating city". Lordan Zafranovic filmed the award-winning documentary "Amorella - A Road to the Future" back in 1989, which showcases footage of the construction, the launch and the eventual handover of this famous vessel in the Dalmatian city of Split.

Tena Perishin and Sime Strikoman also created the television report "With Amorella across the Baltic" back in 1991, in much more turbulent times for Croatia.

Watch the video below:

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Tuesday, 31 December 2019

New Life for Enfeebled Uljanik Shipyard: Jobs for 500 Former Employees?

Croatian shipbuilding has been in dire straits, and when you hear the name ''Uljanik'', it conjures up images of a failing Croatian shipyard struggling to pay the bills, or should we say employees. However, is a new breath of life on the way for the burdened Uljanik shipyard? Maybe...

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 31st of December, 2019, it is becoming increasingly certain that Pula's Uljanik shipyard will soon get a much needed spring put back in its tired step. According to what is currently unofficial information, the business plan for the continuation of shipbuilding at the Uljanik shipyard should be considered by the Croatian Government in mid-January 2020.

By approving this new strategy, which, at the request of bankruptcy administrator of Uljanik d.d. Marija Ružić, with the support of the bankruptcy trustee of the Uljanik shipyard Loris Rak, created an expert team of Uljanik employees, and as the largest creditor to the Pula shipyard, the state would consider completing the construction of New Build (Novogradnja) 526, and thus employ approximately 500 former workers, writes Glas Istre.

According to that plan, the continuation of activities at the Uljanik shipyard would be continued through the company Uljanik Brodogradnja (Shipbuilding) 1856, which was founded last year by the Uljanik shipyard.

The new daughter company would be the ''destination'' of the transfer of concessions and of course the actual construction of ships. Optimism about the possibility of continuing shipbuilding in Pula can be partly reflected in a statement by Economy Minister Darko Horvat, who confirmed late last week after meeting with representatives of the Government that this business plan was "finally coherent" and that its implementation could soon be discussed.

In addition, if there is a positive outcome to the scheduled January meeting, the minister hinted that solutions equivalent to those found in Rijeka's 3 Maj shipyard could be applied to the Uljanik shipyard.

Make sure to follow our dedicated business page for much more.

Sunday, 15 December 2019

Gordana Deranja Dismayed at Croatian Economy, Attitude to Shipbuilding

As Glas Istre/Mirjana Vermezovic Ivanovic writes on the 13th of December, 2019, it's common knowledge that the situation in the Croatian economy and production as a whole is not exactly great.

Croatia is right at the back, far from where it should be, and all experts warn of the need for restructuring and substantive reform, of which currently, there isn't even the letter "r". Croatia can hardly compensate for the rut it is stuck in with the current way it has of managing things, the biggest problems being high levies, tax and non-tax payments, parafiscal charges and a large and complicated, stagnant public administration.

Gordana Deranja, president of the board of Tehnomont and the Croatian Employers' Association (HUP), warned of all of the above at panel discussion held recently in the Istrian city of Pula. There, on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Istrian Development Agency (IDA), distinguished businessmen, professors and politicians debated the current state of the Croatian economy and where they see it by the time the year 2030 rolls around. Deranja noted that Croatian employers have nothing against public administration, but it must be in the context of the general government, in synergy with the private sector, and it must actually create added value.

Croatia also severely lacks manpower. Trade unions have rebelled against its import, saying it will ruin the price of labour and as we thought about it, the pool emptied: why would someone from Bosnia or Serbia come to Croatia when they can go to Germany, Deranja warned.

She cited corruption as the next problem for the Croatian economy, but she related it mainly to Zagreb. Speaking about Tehnomont's survival formula, she said that they were the first in all of Croatia to start manufacturing aluminum ships, and today they are the cheapest and most competitive in Europe. Speaking about the future, she stated that technology is changing very quickly, and Tehnomont is fortunate enough to be working in Germany, where all the information is readily available to it.

''Our market is small. It's amazing that the shipbuilding industry has not been recognised by the state, and other shipyards are working on our tenders. Jadrolinija is a state-owned company that could withdraw European Union funds and build ships instead of buying used ones in Singapore. State relations are also important, we should become a country with normal incomes. Instead of holding on to our hearts, we need to show that we care about people, and we employers will adapt to that. A good example is Istria County, where the businessmen actually listen. We'll be on a good path if we listen to each other, but if we don't jump onto the train of the 4th Industrial Revolution and Digitisation, we'll be left behind,'' Deranja said sharply.

Along with numerous representatives of local self-government units, Istria County, CCE and other institutions and guests from abroad, the discussion was also followed by IDS' honorary president Ivan Jakovčić. Party president and Pula Mayor Boris Miletić stated that the City of Pula is at a crossroads.

''After a hundred-year period marked by the military and joining NATO and the EU, traditions are changing. We can't be satisfied with our demographics, emigration and labour shortages, but when it comes to migration we're in a plus. Local self-government has the role of service, it must be efficient, serve citizens and the economy,'' said Pula's mayor. Despite Uljanik being in "the situation that it is," he sees the future of the city in the development of the IT sector.

Similarly, at the end of the discussion, other participants concluded - the future of the Croatian economy lies in adapting to new technologies. Deranja says Croatia also needs crafts and more education, citing the example of Germany that developed excellently in that sense. People are always an important factor, and Istria has proven that both industry and tourism can develop alongside one another.

Infobip's CEO Silvio Kutić spoke about the success of Infobip, which started in the IDA incubator. He sees the key to success in people, that is, the vision that connects them. Openness, teamwork and learning through academia are key to the success of that company that intends to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange in a few years. In the next five years, they plan to create a technological and scientific city in Vodnjan, where they plan to bring 400 experts from all over the world. But this is difficult because of poor response from city and state administration, Kutić said.

Boris Žgomba, director of the Uniline agency, who is also the head of the Croatian Association of Travel Agencies shared his opinion on the Croatian economy and what could yet come to be.

''Today, we can't know what will be in ten years. People's habits and technological solutions will change. People from some areas we can't even imagine will end up coming here. The technologically advanced “Z” generation makes decisions in seconds. That guest knows more than you do. In the next ten years, there will be a revolution, big changes, and time will tell if we're ready or not,'' said Žgomba.

Prof. dr. sc. Lorena Mošnja Škare, Vice-Rector of Juraj Dobrila University, said that the institution would do everything it could to encourage its students behave in an entrepreneurial and innovative way, by stepping into the STEM field, to prepare experts for the 4th Industrial Revolution.

Make sure to follow our dedicated business page for more on the Croatian economy.

Friday, 8 November 2019

Could a Croatian Shipyard Build Jadrolinija's New Fleet?

Jadrolinija's fleet renewal action plan has been being mentioned for some time now, but nobody has really spoken about it in any particularly specific terms.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Brnic writes on the 8th of November, 2019, regardless of the fact that Jadrolinija is doing well and is liquid, successfully servicing Croatian tourism and "carrying" the season on its proverbial shoulders, Minister of Maritime Affairs, Transport and Infrastructure, Oleg Butkovic, has stated that this national shipping company has a worryingly old fleet and estimates that "the acquisition of a new fleet should have gone better'' than it did.

He emphasised this in an interview with Croatian Radio over recent days. He is at the same time critical of the current way of ''filling'' the fleet, as it primarily involves procuring used ships on the world market. He placed emphasis on the fact that these vessels should be new, and on top of that, they could be made right here, in a Croatian shipyard.

The minister said that the company has an action plan for the procurement of new ships, and announced the contracting of the first ships early next year. As stated, Jadrolinija's fleet renewal action plan has been being mentioned for some time, but no one has yet spoken about it in any real specific terms. This remains the case.

At the request from Poslovni Dnevnik to the company headquarters in Rijeka, they confirm that a procurement plan for the next three years has indeed been prepared, and that the strategic goal is to renew the fleet. What the actual value of the planned investment is, and what the dynamics of the planned implementation are, were not revealed by Jadrolinija. They say the plan is to buy used ships, but also to start building new ones.

''Besides the construction itself, it all involves the preparation of different types of documentation and projects. Some of the investment value ​​will depend on multiple aspects, most notably the current supply in the used boat market when it comes to buying, as well as the state of the shipbuilding market when it comes to building new vessels for the Jadrolinija fleet,'' a short clarification from Jadrolinija stated.

The most recent acquisitions of more than a year ago were two new builds contracted for around 70 million kuna plus VAT per ship, and two used ships, each coming with price tags of 63 million kuna plus VAT. About twenty days ago, through a negotiated procedure which went without public announcement, the company procured a passenger ship worth 63 million kuna plus VAT from a Greek seller.

The implementation of this procedure is also interesting due to the fact that in the spring, when the construction of new ships for Jadrolinija was mentioned as one of the ''saving solutions'' for the ailing shipyards in Pula and Rijeka (Uljanik and 3 Maj), the obligation to conduct public procurement turned out to be an obstacle.

Economy Minister Darko Horvat, as it was said at the time, had submitted a request to the European Commission to try to negotiate a way to exclude these procedures, but until yesterday there was no feedback on the results of these possible negotiations.

In the meantime, the situation is such that Uljanik, as a now bankrupt company, would not be able to apply for this job. It is unlikely, interlocutors say, that even 3 Maj (without major support from the government and the approval of the Commission) would be able to compete for these works. Brodosplit and Dalmont from Kraljevica and possibly Tehnomont from Pula, could compete with local shipbuilders for the kind of ships Jadrolinija needs.

However, more detailed information on the sizes and strength of the ships they intend to build, which would certainly like to be heard by local shipbuilders, isn't something Jadrolinija is willing to publicly provide as yet.

''The company's strategy is to ensure that Jadrolinija has faster, younger, bigger and more comfortable ships on the most important lines than it has today, but also to ensure that the vessels are accessible to every island in the most comfortable and efficient way. In addition to fast ships, our goal is to rebuild the fleet in the ferry segment for local ''short lines'', but also to replace the oldest ships in the fleet,'' they say from Jadrolinija, which successfully transports more than 12 million passengers and 3 million vehicles per year.

Jadrolinija will finance the new passenger ships, which are also a prerequisite for the future ability to duly fulfill the concession contracts, partly from its own funds and partly from loans it has taken out. However, the cost of modernisation still remains unknown.

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Sunday, 19 May 2019

Brodosplit Delivers Polar Cruiser, Dutch Conclude Contract for New Vessel

As Novac/Drazen Grubisic writes on the 18th of May, 2019, Split's Brodosplit shipyard will build another new ship for its end buyer, Oceanwide Expeditions. The vessel will be designed specifically for polar areas with a delivery obligation set at October 2021. This information was recently confirmed to the Cruise Industry News portal in a short conversation with Wijnand van Gessel, the owner of the aforementioned Dutch company.

"We've had a good experience with the shipyard in Split, working with them as a partner," stressed Van Gessel for Slobodna Dalmacija.

The new ship will be Hondius's sister, which will be taken over next week by the company, and it will have the name Janssonius, named after a famous Dutch cartographer from the seventeeth century, Johannes Janssonius.

"Hondius is of a very good quality and was built at a decent price. The shipyard stuck to its delivery times, which is the most important thing in this industry," Van Gessel stated, announcing that Hondius will leave Split next week and go to the Netherlands until the cruise begins in June.

Hondius has a maximum capacity of 196 guests, or 174 in a double room, which is considered by the Dutch to be an optimal number. Among the special features are larger cabins, some with balconies, and a large observation lounge with large windows.

In Brodosplit, the vessel was known as Newbuild (Novogradnja) 484 and was presented as a symbol of Brodosplit's restructuring and a step up in both organisational and technological aspects. It was built with new software, tools and technology, especially so in regard to part of the equipment, as almost 80-85 percent of the ship had already been equipped during its construction, resulting in better quality, shorter deadlines and lower construction costs.

The ship was built according to a new financing model, for its own fleet and for long-term lease.

This new polar cruise ship is the first ship in the world to be built in the LR PC6 class, which will meet the latest Lloyd Registry requirements for Polar Class 6 vessels. It is 107.6 metres long, 17.6 metres wide and its main engine boasts a total output of 4260 kW. It will be able to accommodate nearly 200 passengers accommodated in 85 cabins, which will be taken care of by 70 crew members.

The ship's guests will soon be offered a high hotel standard, as well as various cabin categories, from two-room to four-bedroom, as well as spacious suites, where they will be provided with multiple secured systems to provide a safe and comfortable stay.

The design and all technical solutions are all the work of Brodosplit's talented designers.

Make sure to follow our dedicated business and Made in Croatia pages for much more.

Click here for the original article by Drazen Grubisic for Novac/Jutarnji

Thursday, 2 May 2019

Chinese Interested in Croatian Shipyards, With One Condition...

The Chinese interest in Croatian projects is continually growing, or so it seems, and there is now room to dare when it comes to the potential Chinese rescue of Uljanik and 3 Maj at the eleventh hour.

As Marija Brnic/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 2nd of May, 2019, the Chinese CSIC representatives currently visiting Croatia to see the state of Croatia's ailing Uljanik (Pula) and 3 Maj (Rijeka) shipyards have expressed clear interested in new projects with Croatia's shipyards, but only if the Croatian state covers the cost of what has already failed, there have also been mentions of the diversification of production, but they don't want guarantees.

If there is an agreement between the Croatian Government and the Chinese CSIC about reviving Uljanik and 3 Maj, it will be done so with regard to a combination of the models which were discussed with the previous two strategic partners, Darko Končar and Tomislav Debeljak.

According to the explanation given by Minister of Economy Darko Horvat after the final talks and the three-day visit of CSIC's representatives, the Chinese are indeed interested in starting with new projects, while the state should cover the cost of old, failed projects, meaning it will need to take place on a clean slate. It's also more than likely that the sites of today's Croatian shipyards will see other projects developed there, that is to say, the diversification of activities will occur.

"If they don't see the possibility of continuity of shipbuilding at this time, we want other industries to take place here, and not just those exclusively involved in shipbuilding," Minister Horvat stated. Therefore, unlike Danko Končar's initial idea, Chinese diversification would not be a real-estate business, but would involve some sort of other, new production aside from shipbuilding. And the clean starting position the Chinese have indicated that they want, which is similar to what Tomislav Debeljak sought but is unlike his idea, almost certainly means declaring the bankruptcy of the two shipyards.

"We don't expect them to finance failed attempts to build ships that haven't been completed. The starting position means new projects,'' stated Horvat in reference to the wishes of the Chinese.

The continuation of construction in Pula and Rijeka in partnership with CSIC would in any case have a completely different financing philosophy. The Chinese say, after the talks, that they are completely astonished at the reliance of state guarantees for shipbuilding. To repeat what Finance Minister Zdravko Marić stated recently, it's much too early to talk about exactly what changes might occur in this context following their entry into Uljanik and 3 Maj. Over the next few weeks, CSIC's senior people will analyse the collected information and determine whether or not, and indeed in what form they're interested in entering into the structures of Croatia's enfeebled shipyards.

At this moment in time, Darko Horvat has merely announced that any form of Chinese entry would involve a new way of financing, with different sources, a different way of drafting project documentation, and would involve no state guarantees. After the final talks at Zagreb Airport, Horvat didn't provide any more specific information, nor the deadlines within which he expected to receive feedback from the Chinese, but he did appear to try to leave the impression that he was optimistic about the whole situation. The Chinese representatives themselves, however, didn't give any media statements.

Make sure to follow our dedicated business page for more information on Chinese-Croatian business relations, Chinese projects and investments in Croatia, doing business, working and investing in Croatia and much more.


Click here for the original article by Marija Brnic for Poslovni Dnevnik

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