The Government’s negotiations with the Turkish company Global Ports on the purchase of their 62 percent stake in the Port of Adria have been formally going on for three months, and the Ministry of Finance is analyzing in detail the operations, balance sheets and huge number of court cases of that bar company.
Global Ports bought the majority ownership in the then Container Terminals at the beginning of 2014 for eight million EUR. The problem is that since then the company’s operations have drastically deteriorated, writes Vijesti. The Port of Adria did not respond to the newspaper’s questions about the negotiations, nor about the company’s operations. According to the balance sheets, the company had an accumulated loss of EUR 14 million at the end of 2013, and at the end of last year it amounted to EUR 36.4 million. When they took over the company’s long-term liabilities – the debts amounted to EUR 1.3 million, and now they are EUR 25.8 million.
Short-term liabilities for nine years increased from EUR 2.1 to EUR 6.6 million. In the meantime, the number of lawsuits against the company has also increased, ordered by workers who have already won part of the disputes, and the total possible compensation for these lawsuits, according to the union’s calculations, amounts to EUR 13 to 15 million. All these debts and future obligations should reduce the purchase price. Most of Port of Adria’s debts relate to obligations towards the majority owner Global Ports, and it also owes the state about 1.2 million EUR in taxes and contributions.
The Ministry of Finance, as announced by that department, looks at the operations of the Port of Adria company from the aspect of liquidity, financial obligations to the state and third parties, but also the potential for adequate valorization of the port area through the possible unification of the mentioned company with the Port of Bar.
“As in all deals so far in which the Government considered the purchase of shares of a company, so in the case of the Port of Adria company, the final decision will be preceded by a detailed financial analysis on the profitability and sustainability of such a solution,” the Ministry told News when asked whether negotiations are underway to buy the shares of this company and at what stage are you at?
At the beginning of December last year, the government officially announced that it had started negotiations with the Turkish company Global Ports on the purchase of its 62 percent shares in the Port of Adria.
The government previously bought a package of shares on the stock exchange, which enabled it to own two-thirds of that company. A two-thirds majority is required when making decisions on the merger of companies that are joint stock companies. In the meantime, the state acquired 77 percent ownership in the Port of Bar, and the purchase of additional shares cost EUR 12 million.
“If the Government, after collecting all relevant information, makes a decision on the purchase of the shares in question, the Ministry of Finance will allocate funds for those purposes within the budget,” the Ministry stated.
The President of the Trade Union Organization of Port of Adria employees, Zoran Martinović, told Vijesti that there are two representative trade union organizations in the company, but that none of them is involved in the negotiations between the state of Montenegro and the Global Ports company.
“I tried to contact the Minister of Finance and the Prime Minister by email, but I did not receive an answer. Both representative trade unions addressed the prime minister in writing, and we have not received a response to that either. All my knowledge about the purchase of Port of Adria is from the media, although we believe that as employees we should be informed, because it all concerns us and our existence”, said Martinović.
He stated that the workers are worried about their status in the new situation, because they understand that the procedure will not be very simple and that it will take time. About 300 workers are now working in the company.
“This worries us because of the bad experience we had both with the state and with the new owner Global Ports, because both of them grossly violated the rights of employees on several occasions and forced us to seek justice before the competent courts of Montenegro, which in some disputes very strange judgments. We sent this question to the prime minister, unfortunately, we did not receive an answer”, said Martinović.
He explained that the workers now regularly receive net wages, but reduced, as well as that they do not have any seniority for about a year and a half, which creates a big problem for employees who meet the requirement for retirement.