"Economy Minister Tomislav Coric said in Rijeka on Tuesday he was confident the period ahead would result in additional market orientation for the 3. Maj shipyard and eventually a phase in which the state would in no way assist it," state agency Hina reported.
“That’s what we want and the course the shipyard’s director Edi Kucan and his team will take,” Coric told reporters after Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic’s visit to the perennially troubled shipyard.
“After the problems it faced and searching for a way to resume production, 3. Maj now has over 800 employees,” Coric said.
Asked about a sale of 3. Maj shares and potential investors, he said this topic was “yet to be put on the agenda” and that the focus now was to complete ships under construction.
Speaking of state guarantees for the shipyard, he said the government gave them after “it had become clear that the price offered by a potential investor for ship 514 was not nearly enough to cover the expenses.”
Hina did not say what the price offered was.
“Based on the contract and other circumstances, we decided to complete ship 514 ourselves and sell it on the market at a price dozens of percent better,” Coric said.
Kucan said 3. Maj’s future was in polar cruise ships and existing ships, adding that 82 percent of the 514, a ship for the transport of cars and trucks, had been built and that more than 13 offers had been made for it. He said a favorable price would enable the shipyard to repay a loan taken out to launch production and complete the ship.
The Economy Ministry is collecting offers for the ship until 15 September and the ship may be sold either finished or unfinished for a minimum €39 million.
The 3. Maj is also building a ship for the transport of oil and oil products for a Spanish client, which is almost finished, as well as a polar cruise ship. Kucan said the shipyard was in the final stage of certification to be Italy’s Fincantieri’s permanent contractor for any job. The 3. Maj has 816 employees and 288 subcontractors.
Kucan said the shipyard was negotiating on new contracts, for example for ships with reduced harmful emissions or ships for domestic clients, noting that the shipyard “lacked a strong design office.”
He said the market for big cruise ships was in crisis but that demand for ships for a smaller number of passengers was “good.”
Asked about selling 3.Maj shares, Kucan said there had been queries from Europe but that one should wait for someone to pay surety.
A call for expressions of interest in 88.27 percent of the bankrupt Uljanik shipyard’s stake in 3. Maj was advertised early in July. Late that month, the government approved a state guarantee so that 3. Maj could borrow 7.4 million kuna (€1 million) to bid for a bulk cargo ship which is docked in 3. Maj and is part of Uljanik’s bankruptcy estate.
(€1 = 7.50 kuna)