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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Unexim Set To Merge 2 Shipyards

Uneximbank has announced plans to improve efficiency at its two St. Petersburg shipyards by merging them.

The Obyedinenniye Baltiiskiye Verfi, or the Unified Baltic Shipyards, will incorporate Baltiisky Zavod and Severnaya Verf into a single company.

Uneximbank's president, Vladimir Potanin, announcing the merger at a news conference in St. Petersburg last month, said that "tens of millions of dollars" of investment would be needed over the course of the next year to fund the merger.

Uneximbank has tapped Oleg Shulkyakovsky, general director of Baltiisky Zavod, to head the two shipyards. Shulkyakovsky said in a telephone interview that he believes the enterprise will turn a profit as early as this year.

"Baltiisky Zavod has a very powerful machine-building complex, something no other local plant has, and the unification of activities at the two plants will cheapen production at both shipyards," Shulkyakovsky said.

The two tsarist-era shipyards share problems getting paid by a key client, the Defense Ministry, which owes them a total of about 126 million rubles ($21 million).

The government still owes Baltiisky Zavod 40 billion old rubles for the heavy nuclear missile cruiser "Peter the Great," which was launched 15 months ago. The factory is about six weeks behind in paying workers their wages.

But Baltiisky Zavod reportedly signed a contract in November with India for the construction of three ships and a contract with Industrial Development Corp. of Scandinavia A/S to construct four chemical tankers costing more than 30 million Deutsche marks ($16.38 million) each.

St. Petersburg's third giant shipyard, the state-owned Admiralteiskiye Verfi, is allied to Inkombank and the Morskaya Tekhnika financial-industrial group. It has won contracts from LUKoil and the Indian government.