Croatia shipyards sale

ZAGREB (Reuters) – Croatia is preparing to sell three or four of its ailing shipyards by the end of March next year, Deputy Prime Minister Damir Polancec said after talks with European Commission officials yesterday. Restructuring of the loss-making shipyards is a major requirement for Zagreb to keep its European Union accession talks on schedule and wrap them up by November 2009, which would see Croatia joining in 2010 or 2011. «We’re about to start preparations for tenders,» Polancec said. Privatization of the chosen docks could be completed by the end of the first quarter in 2009, he said, but did not say which ones would be offered for sale. Shipyard restructuring is one of the most sensitive social issues in Croatia’s talks on joining the EU as the industry employs thousands of people.