April 29, 2019 / 10:10 AM / 2 months ago

Chinese shipbuilder visits Croatia for talks on ailing dock

ZAGREB, April 29 (Reuters) - A delegation from a leading Chinese shipbuilding company has arrived in Croatia for talks about a possible investment in the country’s largest shipbuilder Uljanik, which is struggling to avoid bankruptcy.

Officials from the China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSIC) met Croatia’s Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic and his economic team on Monday and will visit Uljanik’s docks in the northern Adriatic later this week.

“After the visit to the docks we will give full and serious consideration to this matter,” CSIC’s Chief Executive Hu Wenming told reporters. He said the delegation included lawyers and investment bankers to advise on any investment.

Uljanik, which is 25 percent state-owned and operates two shipyards in the northern Adriatic cities of Pula and Rijeka, has been battling liquidity problems that began in 2017. A bankruptcy ruling for the company is scheduled for May 13.

Last month the Croatian government said it would not back a restructuring plan for Uljanik due to the financial burden it would place on the state.

The talks with CSIC were agreed earlier this month during Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang’s visit to Croatia.

Around 1,800 of Uljanik’s 4,500 workers have left the company in the last year. (Reporting by Igor Ilic; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)

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