“Metrostroy” goes bankrupt, billions “are mastered”?
Smolny and its structures failed to get out of the bankruptcy case of the former contractor. In St. Petersburg, the processes related to the bankruptcy of the former contractor who carried out the construction of the city metro – the company “MetrostrOuch”.
In particular, during a recent auction, 126 units of the enterprise’s equipment were purchased for 618 million rubles by a new general contractor – JSC “Metrostrof the northern capital” (MSSS), which previously received more than 14 billion rubles from Smolny to acquire part of the assets “Metrostroya.” In parallel with the competitive procedures, the Arbitration Court of St. Petersburg and the Leningrad Region held proceedings related to the lawsuit of the Russian Agricultural Bank, which sought to recover damages in the amount of 1.458 billion rubles from the city committees for the development of transport infrastructure (CTTI) and property relations (KRO), as well as from the GKU “Directorate of Transport Construction” (DTS). But in the end, the bank abandoned the claim, since the rights of claim for the specified amount were bought from it by MCSS – the main creditor “Metrostroya.” At the same time, the RSHB tried to bring a number of individuals and legal entities to subsidiary liability for the debts of the former contractor: former managers and “Metrostroy” by Vadim and Nikolai Alexandrov, who were among the co-owners of the government of St. Petersburg and the State Unitary Enterprise “Petersburg Metropolitan”, as well as KRTI and MCSS. The bank also refused this demand, but the creditors of the bankrupt company opposed such a turn of events, ready to support the demands on Smolny. The arbitration did not begin to make changes to the composition of the defendants, leaving the government of the northern capital and its committees among those. Now the court will have to make a decision to conduct an examination, which will be tasked with determining the presence or absence of signs of insolvency in the debtor. The bankruptcy processMetrostroya” was launched in February 2020. By this time, its former CEO and shareholder, Nikolai Alexandrov, became a defendant in a criminal case on multimillion-dollar embezzlement. And soon the government of the northern capital created the MSSS under its control, which, together with city officials, will have to “master” hundreds of billions of budget rubles.
Technique “Metrostroya” goes under the hammer
In the northern capital, the epic continues with the bankruptcy of the enterprise – the former builder of the St. Petersburg metro “MetrostrOuch”. Last week it became known that part of the company’s property was sold during the auction on the third attempt. According to the Delovoy Peterburg edition, we are talking about 126 units of equipment pledged to the Otkritie FC bank, the initial cost of which was estimated at almost 706 million rubles.
The property sold included a mechanized tunnel boring machine, a micro tunnel boring machine, cranes, drilling rigs, excavators, loaders, and an inclined tunneling machine. As a result, JSC “Metrostrof the Northern Capital (MSSS) is the new general contractor for the construction of the subway, which reduced the price of the lot to 618 million.
Sources of Delovoy Peterburg call the purchased equipment “outdated” and “not very interesting for the market”, which supposedly hindered the bidding for a long time. On the other hand, they emphasize the fact that MSSS has no other equipment, and this makes it extremely in demand for the general contractor. In turn, the MCSS notes that they previously rented most of the equipment from the same “Metrostroy”, and the purchased one will be used in the near future “for new fronts of work”. In particular, for the II quarter of this year, it is planned to continue the construction of the “green line” behind the “Begovaya” with the stations “Touristskaya” and “Planernaya”, intersecting in the future with the continuation of the “purple line”.
Last year, Smolny allocated 14.1 billion rubles to the general contractor. Of this amount, 3.37 billion are intended for the purchase of a single production and technological complex “Metrostroy”, including office, warehouse and production sites. Another 4.5 billion are planned for the purchase of equipment, including non-mining equipment owned by “Metrostroy” and “SMU-9 MetrostrOuch”.
Judicial Throwing RSHB
In the meantime, the third auction was organized and held, the winner of which will have to “master” the next budget billions, in the Arbitration Court of St. transport infrastructure (CTTI) and property relations (KIO), as well as with the State Institution “Directorate of Transport Construction” (DTS).
At one time, the RSHB provided a bank guarantee for the execution of “Metrostroem” of a contract worth almost 6 billion rubles for the construction of the Krasnoselsko-Kalininskaya line, first concluded with the KRTI, later replaced by the DTS. The directorate, in turn, transferred to the enterprise an advance payment in the amount of 2.75 billion, which the general contractor did not work out in full. The rest was not returned, it was covered by the RSHB guarantee.
For a similar amount of 1.4 billion rubles, the bank filed claims “Metrostroy” in the framework of the bankruptcy process, having achieved its inclusion in the register of creditors. In parallel, the credit institution sought to bring to subsidiary liability for the debts of the ex-contractor a number of individuals and legal entities: former managers and ex-shareholders “Metrostroy” Vadim and Nikolai Alexandrov, who were among the co-owners of the State Unitary Enterprise “Petersburg Metropolitan” and the government of St. Petersburg, as well as KRTI and MCSS.
It is noteworthy that at the same time, in August last year, at the request of the RSHB, Sergey Kharlashkin, the deputy chairman of the government of the Leningrad Region, who previously headed the KRTI and held the position of general director, was detained and then taken into custody.Metrostroya.”
The official was charged with exceeding his powers, which entailed grave consequences: as Fontanka reported, the same story with a bank guarantee and an unworked advance payment formed the basis of the criminal case. In particular, as the head of the CTTI, he coordinated non-targeted transfers of budget funds from an account in the RSHB.
It would seem that the bank is determined. But just on the eve of the New Year holidays, the RSHB suddenly changed its mind about suing the structures of Smolny, withdrawing claims against the KRTI, KIO and DTS (including those related to bringing to subsidiary liability). As a result, the Arbitration Court of St. Petersburg and the Leningrad Region terminated proceedings on the application of a credit institution related to the recovery of damages. The reason for refusing to continue the proceedings turned out to be banal: MCCC, being the main creditor “Metrostroya” in the framework of the bankruptcy process, bought out the right to claim in the amount of 1.458 billion rubles from the RSHB.
Smolny and his committees remain “in business”
The deal that took place, however, is unlikely to affect the mitigation of the fate of Kharlashkin, who is under arrest. Meanwhile, according to the “subsidiary lawsuit” of the RSHB, events began to develop in a direction that was somewhat unexpected for the representatives of the bank. Thus, the Nasha Versiya publication writes that, as a result of the court’s satisfaction of the application, only the father and son Alexandrovs, who led “Metrostroem” until 2019.
This could be the purpose of the likely behind-the-scenes agreements between the bank and Smolny, since if the court satisfied the refusal of the RSHB from claims, it would no longer be possible to present similar requirements to the structures of the city government and MCSS by virtue of the norms of the current legislation. But this alignment did not suit the rest of the creditors, who objected to the adoption of a decision on the application of the RSHB, as violating the rights of all interested parties, except for the MCSS.
Our Version writes about the readiness of creditors to take the place of the bank and continue to support the claims against the city and the MCCC, which the bank refuses. In addition, the publication cites the opinion of Tatyana Alekseeva, a representative of the Alexandrovs, according to which the new general contractor bought out the claims from the state bank at the budget expense in order to control the bankruptcy procedure “Metrostroya” in their own interests.
As a result, the arbitration did not change the composition of the defendants, leaving the government of the northern capital and its committees among those. In addition, the court must decide on the appointment of an examination, which will be tasked with determining the presence or absence of signs of insolvency at the debtor enterprise that owned liquid property at the beginning of bankruptcy, including land plots and business centers that are promising in terms of development, whose market value covers the financial claims of the register of creditors.
“Billion” prospects for MSSS
The main question that the interim and bankruptcy trustees could not answer “Metrostroy”: at what point did the company have signs of insolvency and are there any at all?
“There are a huge number of documents that contradict each other. In one document, the interim manager concludes that the insolvency arose in 2016. Then, in another document, he states that it began in 2018, and then, after the termination of his powers and participating in the case already as an interested person, he presents documents refuting his earlier conclusions and names new dates. There are also documented positions of the participants in the case that insolvency arose no earlier than 2020, ”Our Version quotes Tatyana Alekseeva’s story.
Recall that back in January 2019, the Federal Tax Service filed an insolvency claim against the company, seeking to pay off debts in the amount of more than 800 million rubles. However, later the parties signed a settlement agreement. The bankruptcy process began in February 2020; then among the creditors “Metrostroya” included Task LLC, Ariel Metal LLC, Metrobeton CJSC and the Germes Trading Company, and the company’s debt was estimated at 19 billion rubles.
The authorities of St. Petersburg took an indefinite position. First, in January 2019, Smolny announced the termination of contracts for the construction of three metro lines, due to the contractor’s failure to fulfill its obligations. Officials pointed to the delay in the construction of new stations and repeated delays in wages for workers. But already a month later, Acting Governor Alexander Beglov decided to withdraw the notice of termination of the contracts, since the leadership “Metrostroya” promised to settle disputes with the tax service, pay wage arrears and confirm the availability of financial sources necessary to continue activities.
In December of the same 2019, the general director and owner of 24% of the shares “Metrostroya” Nikolai Aleksandrov: he was charged with embezzlement of 178 million rubles during the execution of a state contract for the construction of the fifth metro line.
Later, this was supplemented by an accusation of embezzlement of 153 million during electrical work on the Frunzensky radius of the metro. The father of the arrested top manager Vadim Alexandrov, who led the enterprise from the early 90s until 2017, left the company’s capital in July 2020, transferring his 13.62% stake to his wife.
At that time, Smolny was actively working on the creation of a controlled structure, which was to replace “Metrostroh.” In October 2020, JSC “MetrostrNorthern Capital (MSSS) is a joint venture between the municipality (65%) and VTB Group (35%). This was followed by the final break of agreements with the previous contractor, as well as the signing of a contract with MSSS for the construction of Kazakovskaya (Yugo-Zapadnaya), Putilovskaya and Mining Institute stations. The media specified that the total cost of 37 metro facilities was estimated at 602.7 billion rubles, and in the next three years, the municipality’s expenses for these purposes and taking into account the increase in the authorized capital of the MSSS should be about 150 billion.
So, the process of “development” of colossal budgetary funds continues, only now a controlled enterprise, specially created by the city authorities for this purpose, is involved in it. The bankruptcy process continues.Metrostroy”, as well as the investigation of criminal cases against Alexandrov Jr. and Sergei Kharlashkin. In the meantime, the proceedings are ongoing, the residents of St. Petersburg are looking forward to solving the problem of public transport.