European Commission green lights Uljanik loan

The European Commission has ruled Croatian plans to grant Uljanik shipyard a state guarantee for a €96m loan do not contravene EU state aid rules. The measure will allow the company to meet urgent liquidity needs while preparing a restructuring plan, whilst competition distortions are deemed limited.

Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: “The Croatian state guarantee will help the Uljanik shipyard to continue operating and maintain 1,800 jobs, while they work out a sound restructuring strategy to ensure its future… The restructuring plan must return the company to long-term viability without continued public support, to preserve jobs in Istria on a sustainable basis.”

On January 15, Croatia completed its notification to the commission of plans to grant a state guarantee on a €96m loan in favour of Uljanik Shipyard. The company, like many shipyards around the world, has seen its orderbook dwindle in recent years.

The loan will enable Uljanik Shipyard to pay wages, suppliers and other urgent liabilities over the next months and prevent it from going out of business, while preparing a restructuring plan.

The commission’s rescue and restructuring guidelines allow Member States to support companies in difficulty, provided, in particular, that the public measures are limited in time and scope and contribute to an objective of common interest.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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