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Poland's ailing shipyards

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On August 30-31, Poland commemorated the 28th anniversary of agreements signed at the Szczecin and Gdansk shipyards between Poland's communist authorities and striking workers.

The agreements - the result of workers' demands for better working conditions and social rights - gave rise to the Solidarity labor union.

There was not much cause to rejoice during the anniversary, however, as the future of the Polish ship-building industry is shrouded in uncertainty. By the end of this week, a restructuring plan for the ailing state-owned Szczecin and Gdynia and the privatized Gdansk shipyards has to be submitted with the European Commission. Earlier this year, the EC stated that the shipyards would have to repay billions of euro that they had received as state aid in violation of EU competition laws.



The historic shipyards thus face bankrupcy, unless a viable restructuring plan is presented. The yards in Szczecin and Gdynia, in particular, have seen heavy losses recently and are deeply indebted.

Ukraine's Industrial Union of Donbass, the owner of the Gdansk shipyard, was said to be interested in buying the Gdynia Shipyard, while Polish-Norwegian consortium Mostostal Chojnice-Ulstein has expressed interest in the Szczecin Shipyard. According to the current Treasury Minister Aleksander Grad, however, the two shipyards will need hundreds of millions of zlotys of additional public aid, regardless of any privatization plans.

Sorry, this is the Warsaw Business Journal story, and cannot be displayed in full on gdansk-online.eu
Source: Warsaw Business Journal

11-09-2008

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