Europe has lost another big name in shipbuilding with the authorities in Croatia deciding to liquidate Uljanik, a shipbuilding group whose history dates back to 1856, making it among the world’s oldest shipyards.
Auctions for the company’s assets will begin this year through the state-owned financial mediation company Fina as creditors try to claw back some of the $723m in debts the group has racked up in recent years.
The auctions will exclude assets required for a possible revival of the group’s shipbuilding business in Pula, depending on a final decision by the Croatian government, which has increasingly distanced itself from the debt-laden company in recent months.
Uljanik operates two shipyards, Uljanik Shipyard in Pula and 3. Maj Shipyard in Rijeka with around 4,000 employees in total.
Uljanik has been in a severe financial crisis for the last couple of years, resulting in the cancellation of several ship orders.
The Croatian government owns 25% of the Uljanik Group but the government has refused to endorse the shipyard group’s restructuring plan as it believes the plan would create a financial burden on the state. The state has been pursuing a corruption investigation against a number of executives at the group in the last year, while workers have repeatedly gone on strike, urging for greater government assistance.
Uljanik was founded 164 years ago in the bay of Pula, the naval base of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.