Croatia wants to put bankrupt Rijeka shipyard up for sale

ZAGREB (Reuters) – The creditors of bankrupt Croatian shipyard Viktor Lenac have decided to open an international tender to seek expressions of interest in buying the company, state radio reported yesterday. Croatia’s only private sector shipyard, located in the northern Adriatic city of Rijeka, went bust last November after running up more than 100 million euros ($123.9 million) in debt. «Given that we see business prospects for the shipyard, the creditors supported a decision to call a non-binding international tender because everyone agrees this is the best way to conclude the bankruptcy procedure,» receivership administrator Milenko Skrlec told state radio. The tender will be published next week and will be open until September 30. «Once the tender is closed on September 30, we will roughly know what price for the shipyard we can get on the market. Then we will decide how to proceed,» Skrlec said. The creditors have claims against the company of more than 1.2 billion kuna ($201.5 million). The state has a 70 percent ownership stake, and the rest belongs to several international investment agencies and commercial banks. Viktor Lenac was founded in 1896 and was one of four companies listed on the top tier of the Zagreb Stock Exchange, but trading in its shares was suspended last December following bankruptcy. Before bankruptcy, the shipyard had some 1,200 employees, but currently it is working at lower capacity with around 500 workers. Its largest shareholder was Italian businessman Giancarlo Zacchello, who withdrew from the business and ceded his stake to the government.