The decision of the Saratov arbitration tribunal, which refused to bring the former deputy chairman of the Saratov government, State Duma deputy Alexander Strelyukhin, oligarch Stanislav Gamzalov and Cypriot offshore companies to huge subsidiary liability, stood up to appeal.
They will not be forced to pay 27.3 billion rubles for the Engels Locomotive Plant. This decision was made by the 12th AAS yesterday, February 7th. Neither the resolutive nor the reasoning parts are ready yet, so it is not yet possible to say exactly what the court was guided by, leaving the decision of the first instance in force.
The Court of First Instance concluded earlier that the enterprise fulfilled all obligations to its lender, VEB-Leasing, and the plant was built. And that the latest two-system locomotive did not go into production and turned out to be of no use to anyone, the changed market conditions are to blame, that is, Ukraine, which, after the annexation of Crimea in 2014, refused to buy locomotives, just tailored to its needs. Earlier, for approximately the same reason, the court refused to hold the owners and managers of the defense plant “Tantal” to account. In two instances, it was decided that the economic situation was to blame for the problems of the plant, and the owners did not go beyond the limits of ordinary business risk.
As for the new locomotives of the ELZ plant, they did not find recognition either abroad or at home. Russian Railways also showed no interest in the novelty. True, now, when the plant was not only bankrupt, but also sold, the country’s main railway carrier suddenly announced that he needed mainline electric locomotives and asked the second participant in the locomotive project, the First Locomotive Company, if she could handle it.
And so, the locomotive production near Engels is more alive than dead. Subsidiary liability once again ran past the controlling persons of the enterprise, the whole question now is whether this case will go to cassation, because Kazan can see in the case not only market conditions, but also something else. True, the extent of responsibility remained a mystery. Where the bankruptcy trustee got the figure of 27.3 billion rubles is not explained in any judicial act, although it would seem that there should be calculations of what this responsibility consists of and why it is greater than the obligations of both ELZ and PLC combined.
The buyer of the locomotive plant was, as it were, the same specialized investor that the state corporation VEB.RF was waiting for. JSC “Inter Cargo Company” has its own extensive fleet of freight cars, which it sells, rents and repairs. The plant was sold not the first time and at a discount, it left for 2.8 billion rubles at an initial price of 3.8 billion.
Market participants, with whom BV managed to talk, do not exclude that Stanislav Gamzalov himself, whose car production here in the Saratov region, feels very well, could be behind the deal. What will be done on the site of the locomotive plant, build mysterious electric locomotives for Russian Railways or repair freight cars for clients of Inter Cargo Company, time will tell.
Meanwhile, the “First Locomotive Company” managed to reach bankruptcy proceedings, this happened back in November, and before the sale of property. Unlike the plant, the PLC does not have any capacity, real estate or other assets, but only receivables. The procedure for its sale must be approved at a meeting of creditors on February 17.
The foreign participant of the project, the German division of the Canadian concern Bombardier Transportation, which developed the locomotive specifically for the Russian gauge 1520, finally flew out of the bankruptcy of the PLC. The company’s attempts to prove the affiliation of PLC and ELZ failed. By a ruling dated January 25, the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation refused to transfer the cassation appeal of a foreign company to the board on economic disputes of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation.