QInvest wants to delay Poland shipyards payment
Warsaw, July 23, 2009
QInvest, Qatar's largest investment bank, wants to delay payment for Baltic shipyards in Gdynia and Szczecin after reports of illegal activities there, Poland's Treasury Ministry spokesman said.
Maciej Wewior said Poland agreed with the request to delay the payments until Aug 17 and had sent it to the European Commission for approval.
"We have been asked by the investor for a delay in the payment for the two yards until August 17. It's more than 280 million zlotys ($93.90 million) for Gdynia and around 100 million for Szczecin," Wewior said.
"We have passed it to Brussels with a positive recommendation and there is nothing more we can do," he said.
Earlier this month the government agreed QInvest would buy the two yards' assets in a move aimed at finishing a years-long row between Warsaw and Brussels over state aid granted to the ailing shipyards.
The payment was originally due earlier this week, but the investor asked for more time after a group of the Szczecin yard's former employees sent a letter claiming illegal activities took place at the yard.
Poland's Treasury Minister, Aleksander Grad, said the letter was an 'open sabotage' and that he would inform the prosecutors office.
"We are almost at the end of this long race and I hope everything will end well. All needed audits and checks have been conducted and we see no obstacles to finalise the transaction," Wewior added.
On Wednesday the European Union's executive body approved 251 million euros ($357 million) of state aid given to a third shipyard in Gdansk, where the pro-democracy Solidarity trade union was set up in 1980 and helped topple communism in Poland nine years later. -Reuters