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Who's to Blame?


An official request has been filed to declare the bankruptcy of the Szczecin Shipyard (Poland). The overall debt of the Szczecin Shipyard is estimated at about $500 million, including $400 million owed to banks and $100 million to suppliers of materials and services. Banks granted the shipyard about $350 million in loans to finance production and about $50 million for investments. According to some analysts dealing with the shipbuilding sector, the zl.1.9 billion loss currently reported by the shipyard is money that in various forms remains in the shipyard.

Who is to blame for the shipyard's bankruptcy? Its former management insists that the company made large investments and paid enormous taxes to the national budget. On the other hand, banks which lent money to the shipyard argue that the company executives focused on building a holding company, not ships. Despite this, the banks involved continued to lend money to the shipyard. Banks that financed the shipyard years ago are reluctant to talk about the lending decisions of the competition. "I am not familiar with the loan agreements, and I can only guess why the lenders found themselves in such a situation," one banker said. "Ship building should be financed according to the advancement of work." Westdeustche Landesbank Polska granted the shipyard a loan to build a ship in the middle of last year. At the request of the shipyard's management, the payment of an installment was brought forward in December last year. Only recently did it turn out that the company's authorities used the money to work on another ship, breaking the terms of the loan agreement.

It is not known how many people will permanently lose their jobs as a result of the shipyard's bankruptcy and how many will be reemployed in Allround Ship Service (ASS), which will take over the shipbuilding business. The holding company is also in intensive negotiations with clients. After production was put on hold in March, speculation began on the possible withdrawal of partners and takeover attempts by foreign shipyards, chiefly German.

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