The petition of the GAZ plant was satisfied: the Nizhny Novgorod arbitration arrested the property of the German concern Volkswagen (VW) in Russia. The decision was made as part of the case on the recovery of 15.6 billion rubles from the company. losses for termination of the agreement on contract assembly in Nizhny Novgorod. The lawsuit was filed a week ago.
The court seized the share (28.06%) of Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft, the share (16.8%) of Skoda Auto AS and the share (55.14%) of Volkswagen Dinance Luxemburg SA in the authorized capital of Volkswagen Group Rus LLC.
In addition, 11 real estate objects of this LLC, as well as production equipment and other movable property of the company, fell under the court decision. And the share of Volkswagen Group Rus in the authorized capital of Volkswagen KS LLC, Scania Insurance LLC and Scania Finance LLC.
The court prohibited the Federal Tax Service from carrying out any registration actions related to the liquidation, reorganization, change in the composition of participants, increase and decrease in the authorized capital in Volkswagen Group Rus LLC (FGR), Scania Insurance LLC and Scania Finance LLC.
GAZ filed a lawsuit on March 14, immediately petitioning for the imposition of interim measures. The reason was the termination by the German concern of an agreement on the contract assembly of cars under the VW trademarks at the GAZ plant in Nizhny Novgorod.
The document was signed in May 2017 and was valid until the end of 2025, but in March last year, the concern suspended the production of cars in Russia. In connection with this, GAZ suffered losses – about 15.57 billion rubles.
At the same time, in the court ruling, with reference to GAZ Automobile Plant LLC, it is said that the Volkswagen Group “plans to finally leave the Russian market in the near future by selling the remaining assets to third parties.” According to the plaintiff, this “creates the risk of alienating both the shares in the authorized capital of the FGR and the alienation of individual assets by the FGR, for example, its car manufacturing plant in Kaluga.” All this became the reason for the claim and petition for interim measures.
The representative of the FGR said that the concern was aware of the lawsuit, but were surprised by its appearance.
“We are surprised to receive a lawsuit from GAZ at this stage, given that we have had good business relations for many years and our partnership ended on mutually agreed terms in mid-2022,” he told Vedomosti.
The source explained that “Volkswagen is in the process of applying for Russian government approval to sell its stake in FGR, including the plant in Kaluga with more than 4,000 employees, to a credible Russian investor.” A spokesman for the company said he hoped that “the lawsuit will not delay a deal that aims to provide employment for the affected employees.”
Meanwhile, judging by the court documents, GAZ’s lawsuit is precisely aimed at stopping the sale of the Kaluga site, as experts say. In addition to the car dealer Avilon and AFK Sistema, the Austrian businessman Siegfried Wolf, who in 2010-2020 can also claim the asset. Chairman of the Board of Directors of the GAZ Group. Although it is Avalon that is called the main contender for the site.
On March 10, Reuters named Mr. Wolf as the likely buyer of the German Schaeffler plant in Ulyanovsk. He is on the supervisory board of a German company. The formal buyer, according to the publication, is Promavtoconsult, the contract was signed on December 29, 2022, the transaction amount is 10.6 million euros. The general director of this company, Roman Vovk, suggested using the products of the Schaeffler plant for the equipment of the GAZ Group.
– The deal with Avilon in connection with the filing of a lawsuit by the GAZ Group on the imposition of interim measures on the property of the FGR will, at best, be put on hold, at worst, it will simply not take place. Until the interim measures are lifted, the transaction will be impossible, – says Yury Fedyukin, managing partner of Enterprise Legal Solutions.
He is sure that if Avilon is really interested in concluding a deal, then he needs to either wait for the completion of the trial, or negotiate with all parties to the conflict out of court and look for a compromise that suits everyone. True, the expert saw in the lawsuit of GAZ the latter’s interest in the property of the FGR, which generally casts doubt on the likelihood of a deal with Avalon.
Reference. The most financially successful in 2021 was Volkswagen Group Rus LLC – its revenue amounted to 354.8 billion rubles. In the same year, Volkswagen KS earned 19.3 billion rubles, Scania Finance, whose sole founder is FGR – 854.9 million rubles, Scania Insurance – 83.8 million rubles.