As Kommersant learned, the last oil asset of the New Stream group of Dmitry Mazurov - the Mari Oil Refinery - went to the Debt Center structure, which Kommersant sources connect with the Moscow Credit Bank (MKB). The bank itself is a major creditor of the refinery, and all shares of the plant are pledged with it. A Kommersant source close to the ICD denies any connection with the Debt Center. Lawyers say: if other lenders prove the affiliation of the ICD and the Debt Center, the bank's claims during the bankruptcy of the Mari Oil Refinery can be subordinated.
The Mari oil refinery, controlled by Dmitry Mazurov's New Stream group, changed ownership in early October, Kommersant sources said. This is also confirmed by the USRLE, according to which 100% of the Mari Oil Refinery was transferred from LLC Mariisk Oil Refinery LLC to the collection agency LLC Dolgovy Tsentr (until 2018 - the Debt Center MKB). This collection agency is owned by the Bodmin Group Ltd of the British Virgin Islands. But several Kommersant sources associate the agency with the interests of the Moscow Credit Bank, close to Rosneft, whose structures, they said, were creditors to the Mari Oil Refinery. A Kommersant source in the oil industry claims that 100% of the Mari oil refinery was planted in the MKB, which is also confirmed by current data from the Unified State Register of Legal Entities. According to the general rule of the Civil Code, a mortgaged property transaction is impossible without the consent of the pledge holder, that is, the ICD at least agreed to transfer ownership to the Debt Center.
This collection agency has never been one of the market leaders. The ICD declined to comment. A Kommersant source close to the bank says that MKB sold the Debt Center back in 2013, but does not specify the buyer.
The Mari oil refinery with a primary processing capacity of 1.6 million tons per year (built by 1998) went to VTB for its debts in 2013 and was put up for sale by the bank. In 2014, New Stream, at the request of the bank, took control of the refinery, and two years later acquired this asset with an eye to its further modernization and growth of capacity to 7 million tons. In the meantime, the New Stream group itself was plagued by serious financial problems, as a result, the capacity of the Mari Oil Refinery was able to increase from 1.4 million to only 1.6 million tons, while the plant never started producing marketable petroleum products. However, New Stream managed to conclude an agreement with the Mari Oil Refinery to receive a reverse excise tax - subsidies for oil refining - which it could apply for if a small gasoline plant was built. The plans were hindered by the transfer of the New Stream main asset to Sberbank this spring, and in July the group’s beneficiary Dmitry Mazurov was arrested.
From that moment, the Mari plant, and so having problems with oil purchases due to lack of funds, stopped working until November. But the first bankruptcy petitions were filed at the end of May at the same time as the bankruptcy proceedings of the Antipinsky Refinery began. One of the first of its judicial claims to 2.6 billion rubles. filed the ICD and the unknown LLC Finoil. According to one of the interlocutors of Kommersant, this company is also associated with the ICD.
Some creditors at the Mari Oil Refinery told Kommersant that they welcomed the change of ownership. So, Sovfreight (the refinery owes its structure to Koksokhimtrans) said that “they welcome the change of ownership and look forward to the resumption of relations within the framework of mutually beneficial cooperation.” The Absolut Bank told Kommersant that "with the advent of the IBC, the owners have the opportunity for negotiations." The PSB and Transoil declined to comment.
The IBC is likely to deny communication with Dolgovy Tsentr LLC in order to avoid risks of losing the status of a majority creditor and monitoring bankruptcy, including regarding the choice of the arbitration manager, notes Ilya Plotnikov, Managing Partner of the Plotnikov & Partners Bar Association, . In addition, if in the bankruptcy case of the Mari Oil Refinery other lenders prove the affiliation of the ICD and the Debt Center, the court can theoretically subordinate the bank's claims (lower the order of their satisfaction), and recognize the bank as the controlling person with the prospect of bringing to subsidiary liability, the lawyer notes . In his opinion, proving such affiliation will not be easy. Ivan Veselov, partner at Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner Russia, notes that affiliation can be established regardless of the presence of formal legal characteristics. It is enough for lenders to give arguments indicating possible affiliation, after which the burden of proving the opposite goes to the debtor, the lawyer believes.