Croatia received two bids in an international tender for its six state-owned shipyards, the country's privatization fund said Wednesday. Offers, from two Croatian companies, were made for Brodotrogir in Trogir and for Brodosplit, the smaller of the two shipyards, in Split.
The offer received for the Rijeka shipyard, the largest in Croatia and one of the largest in the Adriatic region, was deemed not valid. No offers were received for the Uljanik shipyard in Pula, the only one to be sold at actual market price and the only one, out of the six, operating with profit.
"The problems of the Croatian shipbuilding industry are much larger" than what had been indicated at the end of 2008," Deputy Premier Damir Polancec said after the offers were opened.
"This is another indicator that the privatization of Croatian shipyards, I mean its second round, must be carried out as soon as possible," he said.
The sale of state-owned and heavily subsidized shipyards is one of the prerequisites for Croatia’s entry in the EU.
The six shipyards, three on the north of Croatia's Adriatic coast and three in the south, employ some 15,000 people, while tens of thousands depend on the industry directly or indirectly.
Once the country's flagship export industry and second-largest hard-currency earner, after tourism, the Croatian shipbuilding has now for years depended on subventions in order to keep the yards operating.