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Qatari fund might ride to the rescue of Polish yards

Qatari fund might ride to the rescue of Polish yards

Warsaw: A ray of hope emerged Tuesday for two struggling Polish shipyards as the government said Qatar's national investment fund could step in after the failure of their sale to Qatari investors.
"I received an official letter from the Qatar Investment Authority concerning the launch of moves that could lead the authority to take over the investors' commitments to the shipyards," Treasury Minister Aleksander Grad told reporters.
Earlier Tuesday, Warsaw had said that the investors had failed to meet an August 17 payment deadline for the takeover of the Baltic Sea shipyards of Szczecin and Gdynia.
In May, Warsaw triumphantly announced that the yards had been sold -- and saved from European Union-ordered liquidation -- but refused to give details.
The following month, the treasury said the buyer was Qatari bank QInvest but the latter insisted it was simply an adviser on the deal.
The initial deadline for the 364-million-zloty ($123m) payment was July 21. It was later moved to August 17 after the investors asked for more time in order to probe claims of graft among Szczecin's previous management -- an allegation Poland rejected.
Last month the European Commission threw a lifeline to a third yard, in Gdynia's neighbouring port of Gdansk, when it cleared previous state aid but still ordered a major restructuring of operations.
The Gdansk yard was sold to Ukrainian shipbuilding group Donbass in 2007.
The Qatar Investment Authority is a sovereign wealth fund which manages more than 60 billion dollars of Qatari money.  [19/08/09]

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