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Poland Is Looking For Buyer For Gdansk Shipyard

Warsaw, April 1 (RFE/RL) - The Polish government published advertisements in today's newspapers seeking bids for its stake in the Gdansk shipyard.

The government owns 60 percent of shares in the shipyard, with the remaining 40 percent owned by the shipyard employees. The shipyard is more than 135 million dollars in debt.

Shipyard managers say that the South Korean Daewoo Group and Kvaener AS of Norway may be among potential buyers.

If the sale does not materialize, the shipyard would have to enter into negotiations with creditors and customers to reorganize the company. The restructuring would involve major cuts in jobs - there is talk that more than 40 percent of the current 7,300 labour force will lose employment - and a sale of assets.

The Gdansk shipyard played an important role in Poland's recent political history. It is there that Solidarity, the first independent labor union in post-war Poland, was formed in 1980. The emergence of the union eventually helped in the collapse of the communist government.