A Qatar investor wants to buy the historic Gdynia shipyard in Poland, whose strikes in the 1970s led to the birth of Solidarity in neighbouring Gdansk and helped bring down communism in Poland, the daily Polska reported yesterday.
The investor, the newspaper said, is thought to be Qatar Investment Authority, which is interested in using the Gdynia shipyard to build ships for gas transport. The country is the only one on a list of 36 possible bidders that wants to buy the facility as a whole and continue ship production.
The yards are known for protests in the 1970s, some of them brutally put down by the communists regime, which were followed by former Solidarity leader Lech Walesa’s strikes in neighbouring Gdansk. But the yards ran into financial hardship after the fall of communism in 1989, and were kept afloat by state aid and production guarantees.
Poland has agreed to sell the yards’ assets and use the proceeds to repay creditors and return illegal aid to the state. The decision comes after an EU investigation in 2005 which declared any aid illegal which was not used for rescue and restructuring.
For us every private investor is better than a state,” Marek Lewandowski, of the Gdynia shipyard, told the daily. “We are even able to build an aircraft carrier, not only gas carriers.”
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