January 17 (SeeNews) - Creditors of bankrupt shipyard Uljanik Brodogradiliste decided to sell a majority stake in its subsidiary Uljanik Brodogradnja 1856 via a public tender, rather than accept the proposal for a direct sale to a potential buyer, lodged last year by Czech investor CE Industries, the minutes of a creditors' meeting showed.
The tender is to be called in the next two months, according to the minutes from the meeting published by the commercial court in Pazin on Monday.
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At the creditors' meeting held on January 16, the state attorney's office proposed to require the potential buyer to pledge to keep the core shipbuilding business of Uljanik Brodogradnja 1856.
“The Republic of Croatia chose transparency and to create an opportunity to see whether there are any other potential bidders,” Nevenka Kovcalija, deputy state attorney of Pula country, told public broadcaster HRT on Monday following the meeting of the creditors.
Last summer, the creditors of Uljanik Brodogradiliste agreed to offer its 54.77% stake in Uljanik Brodogradnja 1856 for sale at a starting price of 208 million kuna ($30 million/28 million euro). In October, a procedure for the expected sale was published, which envisages to sell the stake in a public tender in two rounds.
In November, without a tender opened, CE Industries offered to buy the majority stake in a direct deal with the creditors at a price of 155 million kuna plus at least 75 million kuna capital injection to cover the shipyard's losses and stabilse its operations. The offer stopped the preparations for calling a tender, according to HRT.
The shipyard is a major employer and its employees not been paid salaries for the last couple of months. According to earlier reports, the parent company Uljanik Brodogradiliste had 1,400 employees when the bankruptcy procedure in it started in May 2019, and Uljanik Brodogradnja 1856 currently has some 500 employees.
The bigger creditors are not supposed to take decisions damaging the small creditors – the employees and given that there are no other offers, the offer of CE Industries to buy the company in a direct agreement had to be approved because its value of 155 million kuna would have covered the receivables of all small creditors, Boris Cerovac, a creditor and trade unions representative said, according to the minutes from the creditors' meeting.
CE Industries recently acquired 81.83% of the equity capital of indebted Croatian holding company Djuro Djakovic [ZSE:DDJH].
(1 euro = 7.542 Croatian kuna)