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Ukraine's Portinvest confirms interest in Croatia's Luka Rijeka - report

Author Iskra Pavlova
Ukraine's Portinvest confirms interest in Croatia's Luka Rijeka - report Luka Rijeka, Photo: KL-Photo

ZAGREB (Croatia), July 18 (SeeNews) - Ukraine's Portinvest is interested in investing and later on entering the shareholder structure of Croatian Adriatic port operator Luka Rijeka, local media reported.

Following a tour of the port facilities, in April Portinvest sent a business proposal to Luka Rijeka, suggesting a model for investing in its three terminals, news daily Jutarnji List reported late on Wednesday.

The proposal was sent to the port operator's executive director Denic Vukoper, state secretary at the transport ministry Nikolina Brnjac and to Ukraine's honorary consul in Croatia, Ivica Piric, the report said.

"Portinvest is proposing modernisation of the three terminals, cargo transport - mainly coal, steel and wheat, as well as other forms of cooperation," the daily quoted Piric as saying. The Croatian company, however, is ignoring the proposal, he added.

Approached for comment by Jutarni, Dusko Grabovac, who headed Luka Rijeka's management in May, invited Portinvest representatives to pay a new working visit to Luka Rijeka and hold talks with him since he had not been appointed as a chief executive director at the time of their previous visit.

According to Piric, Portinvest is ready to enter the shareholder structure of the Croatian port operator, either by buying out an existing shareholder, or through a capital increase, or in another way.

Poland's OT Logistics is the largest single shareholder in Luka Rijeka with a 26.5% stake, followed by the government in Zagreb, which controls a 25% stake via Croatia's centre for enterprise restructuring and privatisation, CERP. Pension fund AZ OMF is next with 14.99%, while the remainder belongs to smaller shareholders, mainly institutional investors, including other AZ  pension funds as well as Erste and PBZ pension funds.

Last week report Jutarnji reported that OT Logistics has stated it wishes to remain an active shareholder in Luka Rijeka with an impact on its business decisions and processes, and is ready for talks on a new type of cooperation with the AZ funds manager, Allianz ZB.

The announcement came after the Polish group said it is exiting its management contract with AZ due to disagreements.

Back in September 2017, OT Logistics signed a cooperation deal with Croatian pension fund managers Allianz ZB and Erste Plavi, which enabled OT Logistics to operationally take over the management the Croatian port.  

The three parties together held a stake of 56.56% in Luka Rijeka at the time.

The cooperation agreement was signed for a period of seven years, setting out the conditions for cooperation in managing Luka Rijeka.

The port operator saw its loss soaring to almost 29 million kuna ($4.4 million/3.9 million euro) last year from 1.3 million kuna in 2017 as revenues dropped, while costs increased.

(1 euro = 7.3865 kuna)