To finance the leasing of 100 Sukhoi Superjet aircraft to Aeroflot, the state-owned VEB.RF corporation in November 2019 requested the Ministry of Finance to recapitalize approximately 70 billion rubles. (to subsidize the leasing rate). About this RBC said a source in one of the relevant departments.
A source in a large leasing company confirmed to RBC that VEB requested such state support: 40 billion rubles. for subsidizing rates and the remaining funds - directly for the purchase of aircraft.
Why VEB needed 70 billion rubles. from the budget
The fact that VEB will finance Aeroflot’s deal with Sukhoi Superjet producer Sukhoi Civil Aircraft (GSS) was announced by Igor Shuvalov, chairman of the state corporation, on October 30 following a meeting of the supervisory board. “Positive decisions were made on all issues on the agenda. The most important and difficult issue was the acquisition of 100 Sukhoi Superjet aircraft for leasing to our main national carrier, Aeroflot, ”he said then.
Shuvalov noted that the deal is "complex and requiring capital for VEB and liquidity." He then did not specify the necessary amount of capitalization, noting only that the entire amount of the transaction for the purchase of 100 liners was $ 3.8 billion.
According to the head of VEB, during the supervisory board various options for financing the transaction were presented, which include certain guarantees from the government or the use of other mechanisms. “Instructions were given to finalize on the site of the Ministry of Finance, and we hope that by the end of the year the decision will be made in the final version,” he concluded.
The press service of VEB.RF told RBC that the scenario and the amount of recapitalization "are not relevant." “The deal’s parameters are under discussion, it’s premature to talk about them in more detail,” the representative of the state corporation said.
The press service of the government and the Ministry of Finance declined to comment. RBC sent inquiries to Aeroflot and the GSS.
Who financed the supply of the first ten aircraft
The implementation of the SSJ supply project is foreseen until 2026. According to both sources of RBC, in connection with subsidizing the leasing rate for deliveries of the first ten airliners to Aeroflot, the need for VEB's capital amounted to 9.8 billion rubles. It was about a property contribution for such an amount, said one of the interlocutors.
In 2018, the State Transport Leasing Company (GTLK) received the same amount for the purchase of liners from the GSS in the form of subsidies, which before that had allocated another 34 billion rubles. from the budget for the purchase of 36 airliners.
However, in December 2019, VEB issued a deal for only five SSJs for Aeroflot, and another five airliners from the first batch were ultimately funded by Sberbank, Shuvalov said on December 13. The state corporation proposed to determine the volumes and sources of state support for the remaining 90 SSJ airliners in 2020, say RBC interlocutors.
At the end of last year, it became known that the GSS did not fulfill the Sukhoi Superjet sales plan for 2019. In April, it was reported that the annual plan for the supply of aircraft was about 20-25 airliners.
In February 2019, the only European company operating Superjet, the Irish CityJet, abandoned these aircraft. On SSJ, the company operated flights for another airline, Brussels Airlines. But soon Brussels Airlines abandoned the liners of this model due to a lack of spare parts. In the summer, it became known that the Mexican Interjet, which was their second largest operator (22 airliners) after Aeroflot (it has 49 aircraft in the fleet), refused Russian planes. However, in the GSS, Interjet's refusal to SSJ was refuted.
Despite the problems of Sukhoi Superjet on the international market, the Norwegian airline Norwegian Air Shuttle, which is one of the three European low-cost airlines, last year signed a memorandum with the GSS to supply 40 SSJ aircraft with the ability to fly along the Trans-Siberian route, RBC sources said. In November 2019, the fact of negotiations between Russia and the Norwegian company was confirmed by Industry Minister Denis Manturov.