Croatia's troubled Pula shipyard placed into bankruptcy

ZAGREB, May 13 (Reuters) - Croatia’s ailing shipyard in the northern Adriatic city of Pula was placed into bankruptcy by a commercial court on Monday after an almost year-long effort to keep it afloat.

The shipyard belongs to Uljanik, Croatia’s largest shipbuilding group, which also owns another troubled dock in the northern Adriatic city of Rijeka. A decision on the shipyard in Rijeka is scheduled for June 5.

The Pula shipyard has an outstanding debt of 164.8 million kuna ($25 million). Local media reported that it has 1,118 workers left who will now lose their jobs.

A delegation from a leading Chinese shipbuilding company, China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSIC), visited the shipyards in Pula and Rijeka late last month with a view to possible investment.

The response is pending and Croatia’s Economy Minister Darko Horvat said he expected it to come later this week. An option for the Chinese is to offer to invest in another type of industrial production at the locations of the docks.

Uljanik is 25 percent state-owned, but the government said it would not back a restructuring plan for Uljanik group due to the financial burden it would place on the state.

$1 = 6.5931 kuna Reporting by Igor Ilic, editing by Ed Osmond