The Viktor Lenac shipyard is expecting a new, bigger contract for the overhaul of the US Navy command ship USS Mount Whitney, the Rijeka-based company said on Tuesday.

CEO Aljosa Pavelin told Hina that they were waiting for the completion of the tender process and for a formal decision on the selection of a contractor.

In 2015 Viktor Lenac executed two similar contracts worth more than USD 21 million.

"We submitted the best bid and we believe that that will be enough for this extremely important project to once again be awarded to a Croatian shipyard. If we get this job, work will begin at the end of 2016 and will last until mid-2017," Pavelin said.

The US Department of Defence said on its website on Monday that Viktor Lenac was awarded a $20,998,341 firm-fixed-price contract for a 179-day dry docking and overhaul of USS Mount Whitney.

"This contract includes 14 options which, if exercised, would bring the total contract value to $31,921,042. Work will be performed in Rijeka, Croatia, and is expected to be completed by July 2017," the US Department of Defence said.

Asked about the shipyard's business, Pavelin said that in the first half of 2016 Viktor Lenac had generated a total income of HRK 109.5 million and a net loss of HRK 9.3 million. He said that the income was made almost entirely from ship overhauls, adding that 35 such projects had been carried out.

Pavelin noted a marked drop in the average value of projects, saying that the average value of a project in 2014 was HRK 4.6 million, in 2015 it was HRK 6.2 million, while in the first half of 2016 it was merely HRK 3 million. He said that this was due to the shipbuilding market recession.

He said that the company expected more positive developments in the second half of the year and to end the year with a positive result.

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