Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic on Tuesday visited the Rijeka-based 3.Maj shipyard and after he was informed by the dock's management about the current state of affairs and the future plans, the premier said that all what he heard during the talks was encouraging.
Plenkovic, accompanied by Economy Minister Darko Horvat, Transport Minister Oleg Butkovic and Justice Minister Drazen Bosnjakovic, held the talks with the company's director Edi Kucan who informed them of plans to complete the three ships under construction, two of which are in the 3.Maj dock and one in the Viktor Lenac dock.
Plenkovic said that the management and workers had showed a high level of motivation to resume the production and complete the vessels as well as to embark on the second stage which will unblock company's account and facilitate efforts to find a strategic partner that will help 3.Maj to have a feasible business model governed by market rules.
"Our engagement is intended to help solve the urgent problems now, and in two years' time how long the completion of the ships will take, the survival of shipbuilding in 3.Maj should be enabled, with a strategic partner being found," Plenkovic said.
Plenkovic said that justice, finance and economy ministries and some other expert companies were tasked with seeking a legal framework for the implementation of the government's decision to get involved in the process of unfreezing the dock's accounts and assist in restarting production for the completion of ships already under construction at the dock.
The government's decision of 1 August made the Rijeka County Court adjourn the bankruptcy hearing.
During today's visit to Rijeka, Plenkovic said that 3.Maj, established in 1905, had a long tradition and was a matter of Rijeka's identity.
He said that he had been informed today that there were about 740 people on the 3.Maj payroll.
Director Kucan said that the shipyard planned to relaunch the production of a bulk cargo ship ordered by a Canadian company and a ship for transportation of trucks and cars.
Kucan said that the completion of the ships would bring about more to the dock than what was invested, and this could satisfy the European Commission's criteria.
At the start of the 1 August cabinet meeting, Plenkovic recalled that the management of 3. Maj had sent a letter to the government at the end of July asking for state guarantees for its account to be unfrozen and for production to restart so ships that are under construction at the dock can be completed. He said that the dock had been restructured in late 2017 in accordance with the rules on restructuring enterprises facing hardships and that the company's account have been frozen for some time.
"Unlike the Uljanik shipyard, 3. Maj is not overindebted and had it not lent money to Uljanik, it would have operated normally because all current and potential buyers have expressed interest and readiness for their ships to be completed and there is interest for new ships to be built too," said Plenkovic at the cabinet meeting a few days ago.