In spite of the disastrous financial situation of the largest defense enterprise of the AHK Sukhoi, Sberbank wrote off controversial debts from it without acceptance. Multibillion-dollar contracts for the supply of combat "SU" of new generations not only to India and China, but also to the Russian Air Force were at risk. Was it only for the sake of super-profits that Sberbank tried to "nightmare" a strategically important enterprise for Russia? And, it seems, not only one.
In 2013, Sukhoi Aviation Concern concluded a number of short-term currency options (derivatives) with Sberbank. The company has undertaken to sell the lender a certain amount of currency at the rate that was valid at the date of the loan. And the airline company had to sell the currency if the dollar exchange rate exceeds the barrier of 37–40 rubles per dollar.
In exchange for signing the contract for the Sukhoi option, a credit line was opened at a reduced interest rate. Thus, the company saved on loan servicing, hoping that the rate would not rise to the barrier specified in the option agreement.
Force majeure crept unnoticed
However, in 2014–2016, the ruble sharply weakened, and Sukhoy had to exercise the option, buying dollars on the market almost twice as much as they were worth at the time of concluding options. In total, he had to buy currencies for sale to the bank at the ruinously low rate of 13.4 billion rubles.
Under the terms of the contract, funds were debited without acceptance, that is, the lender did not need a separate consent of the company for each case when money was withdrawn from its account. Sberbank took advantage of this opportunity and managed twice (in May and August of 2016) to direct 844 million rubles from the current account of the aircraft concern without any acceptance.
Further similar actions of Sberbank could lead to a cross-default of the company - Sukhoi would not be able to fulfill the debt repayment requirement. The annual net profit of PJSC “Company“ Sukhoi ”did not cover the funds to be written off. Thus, Sukhoi’s contracts for the delivery of SU of various modifications worth billions of dollars to India and China, not to mention the financial viability of the largest defense enterprise, were in jeopardy. But the position of Sberbank, it seems, was simple: after us, even then the grass did not grow.
The prosecutor’s office stood up to defend the flagship of the domestic defense industry, appealing to the Moscow Arbitration Court with a lawsuit against Sberbank, in which it demanded to cancel transactions of the deliverable currency option (case No. А40-185615 / 2016). The ultimate beneficiary of Sukhoi is Rosimushchestvo - that is, we are talking about budget money.
The process began in 2016 and was held in closed mode, since Sukhoi AHC fulfills strategic defense orders. After the Sberbank, with the filing of a prosecutor's office, was forbidden to write off funds from the Sukhoi settlement account and demand that it fulfill its obligations until the end of the process, the bank tried to protest such a decision in the appeal and cassation instances, but without success.
In August 2017, Sberbank sent the prosecutor’s office and Sukhoi a draft of a settlement agreement on the dispute and offered the aviation holding to pay 13.5 billion rubles over two years. It is very similar to the fact that Sberbank did not give up hope to bring the AHC to the handle, only with a slight delay.
In April of this year, the court finally granted the claim of the Moscow Prosecutor's Office to invalidate the transactions of the barrier currency option concluded by the Sukhoi Aviation Concern and Sberbank. “The lawsuit is fully satisfied,” the court file says. The debt sword has ceased to hang over the leading enterprise of our defense industry, but how much effort and means have been spent for this, worthy of a better use.
Similar hard case
Sberbank made deals of so-called barrier options not only with the Sukhoi Holding Company, but also with other companies, in particular with Transneft. All this also turned into a scandalous lawsuit.
In 2014, the oil company and Sberbank concluded option-put and option-call transactions for $ 2.727 billion, according to IFRS Transneft report. This was done because of the currency debt (a loan of $ 10 billion issued in China until 2029, and eurobonds of $ 1.05 billion maturing in 2018), as well as temporarily free funds in foreign currency. In 2014, there was a sharp jump in the dollar rate, and Transneft suffered losses from operations with derivative financial instruments by 75.28 billion rubles.
In January 2017, Transneft went to court, demanding that the transaction with Sberbank be declared invalid. As the company explained, Sberbank, being the initiator of the transaction, did not warn Transneft about all the associated risks.
The Moscow Arbitration Court took the side of Transneft, declaring the transaction with Sberbank invalid. A later rationale for the court decision stated that the bank acted in bad faith, which resulted in the imposition of a high-risk speculative transaction unprofitable for the company. At the same time, Transneft, being a non-professional participant in the financial market, was unable to assess the risks on its own.
But in August 2017, the appeal overturned this decision, considering the transactions legal. As a result, Sberbank and Transneft broke up in peace, but under what conditions it is still unclear.
As calculated by Vedomosti, in 2014 the leading companies in the country (including Uralkali, Aeroflot and others) lost about 290 billion rubles in derivatives. Was Sberbank the only winner?