Andriy Volkov: On debt collection from the State Enterprise Ukrzaliznytsia

FC “Investohills Vesta” does not claim to recover the debt of UAH 399 million from JSC “Ukrzaliznitsa” (UZ), since it has not been a creditor of the enterprise since June 2021.

Considering this, we were very surprised by the statement of the member of the Supervisory Board of UZ Sergiy Leshchenko on Facebook about the upcoming process of collecting $13.5 million in favor of our company on the debts of the State Enterprise “Donetsk Railway”, and also outraged by his accusations that our company is acting in the interests of businessman Pavlo Fuchs.

Back in the summer of 2021, having the resolution of the economic court of the Donetsk region of July 15, 2020 on the replacement of the debtor (SE “Donetsk Railway”) by the legal successor (JSC “Ukrzaliznytsia”), confirmed by the Supreme Court of Ukraine, our company, due to the potential politicization of the recovery process, decided to assign its right of claim to a new creditor.

On June 9, 2021, on our official website, we announced the assignment of the rights to claim the debt on the obligations of SE “Donetsk Railway” to PJSC “Bank Forum” to Tilmark Company. The assignment of the rights of claim is also evidenced by the definition of the economic court of the Donetsk region of June 8, 2021 in case No. 908/5205/14, at the meeting of which, by the way, lawyer O. Filonenko, representing the interests of the debtor company JSC “Ukrzaliznytsia”, was present.

Mr. Leshchenko is trying to give a political color to relations between economic entities. At the same time, making various statements, he did not even bother to figure out who the real creditor was, although he could have obtained all the necessary information from UZ lawyers.

We are all well aware that this PR activity is caused by the only reason – the inability of the company’s management and the Supervisory Board to effectively manage the finances and accounts payable of the state-owned enterprise.

I believe that it is time for the Government, the President’s Office, and the media to ask why “Ukrzaliznytsia”, which has the means to pay off debts, conducts selective repayment of debts (for example, tens of millions of dollars were repaid to Sberbank of Russia with the knowledge and approval of the Supervisory Board) and does not enter into any negotiations, and does not even respond to repeated written appeals from creditors, to whom, for some reason, it does not want to pay debts.

FC “Investohills” has repeatedly called on the leadership of “Ukrzaliznytsia” to peacefully resolve the problem debt, wrote letters and offered to restructure the debt. However, we did not wait for a constructive dialogue, or even feedback from representatives of the enterprise. Therefore, we decided to assign the rights of claim to JSC “Ukrzaliznytsia” to another legal entity.

By the way, we were once again convinced of the correctness of our understanding of the situation and the sequence of bonds in the selective repayment of debts after the Northern Economic Court of Appeal recently satisfied the appeal of “Ukrzaliznytsia”, declaring invalid the contract of purchase and sale of the right to claim credit debt of UZ JSC concluded between “Prominvestbank” and the American investment fund VR Global Partners. The reason for the cancellation of the contract is formal and has nothing to do with either the essence or the amount of the debt – “Ukrzaliznytsia” insisted that VR Capital did not have the right to purchase its debts, since it was a so-called “factoring operation”, for which you need to have a license in Ukraine, and a foreign investment fund does not have the status of a financial institution in Ukraine.

It will be more correct if individual members of the Supervisory Board stop focusing on the problems of the enterprise entrusted to them and take up their direct duties, and the UZ will stop numerous battles in an attempt to delay the inevitable – the fulfillment of the requirements recognized by the Supreme Court to repay the company’s debts. Instead, the members of the Supervisory Board and the management of “Ukrzaliznytsia” need to develop common rules for debt restructuring for all creditors of the state-owned enterprise, enter into a constructive dialogue with them, without sorting them according to unknown priority principles, and, finally, put the company’s finances in order. This will allow UZ to get out of the state of permanent default, build a quality development plan and help attract the necessary investments, which will have a positive impact on the investment climate of Ukraine as a whole.

Andriy Volkov, founder of FC “Investohills Vesta”

We remind that on September 9, UAH 78 million was written off from the accounts of “Ukrzaliznytsia” as part of the debt collection process of Donetsk Railway in favor of the enterprise Donbasenergo. Which caused an immediate public statement from S. Leshchenko.

“Despite all the absurdity, the executive service of the Ministry of Justice opened enforcement proceedings and the money was written off from the UZ account. On the way — the write-off of another 13.5 million dollars, that is, more than 360 million hryvnia according to the requirements of the company “Investohills”. That is, all the anti-crisis measures of the UZ to fill the company with money end up with the fact that this money is written off for the debts of the Donetsk Railway, despite the moratorium,” a member of the UZ Supervisory Board wrote on Facebook.