UPDATE, JULY 6, 2017: Mondomarine may have avoided bankruptcy, at least for now. It filed an appeal with the bankruptcy court, to allow it to find a buyer within the next four months. That, Mondomarine says, will help it settle debts with creditors. Its creditors still need to review the proposal. The result would stem off legal action by them. However, a judge will review the proposal and rule next week as to whether the terms are acceptable.
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A court hearing earlier this week to determine Mondomarine’s financial future resulted in no decision. This, despite four requests put to the court to declare it bankrupt, and a possible agreement with foreign investors. It’s the latest of several situations that have an air of uncertainty hanging over the shipyard and its sister yard, Cantieri di Pisa.
While the judge last week did not come to a final decision, he did set a date to do so. He postponed the ruling to July 5. This may allow for one of two scenarios to conclude in the interim. The first is producing bank guarantees to cover the debts owed, which several Italian media report are substantial. A Mondomarine spokesperson characterized the company situation as “a temporary financial strain” when we asked for commentary earlier this spring. She added that talks were underway for an influx of cash. This followed layoffs affecting 100 people. Under the layoffs, the craftspeople receive eight weeks’ worth of wages, but remain at home.
The second possible scenario involves China-based investors acquiring Mondomarine and Cantieri di Pisa. Alessandro Falciai, Mondomarine’s majority shareholder, and Roberto Zambrini, its managing director, reportedly told workers in recent weeks that Shandong Ocean Investment Co. wanted to acquire the yards. Located in Beijing, Shandong Ocean specializes in marine transport and logistics. It further invests in marine equipment manufacturing as well as marine engineering and construction. According to some Italian media outlets, Mondomarine’s management informed workers it would have a deal by June 2. However, the media also report, during the second week of June, workers claim management informed them no signed contracts were yet in hand.
The above-mentioned postponement by the court has Mondomarine employees troubled. The eight weeks of wages stop this weekend. In addition, if neither the bank guarantees nor an acquisition deal materialize, it may be forced into bankruptcy. The four requests before the court are from two suppliers, an employee, and a special prosector from Savona, where Mondomarine is located.