Dutch assets of Gazprom were arrested in compliance with the decision of Stockholm Arbitration, which obliged the Russian gas supplier to Europe to pay Ukrainian Naftogaz $ 2.6 billion, said Naftogaz in its Twitter account.
As the Ukrainian company clarifies, the Dutch court granted Naftogaz's petition for the arrest of Gazprom's shares in subsidiaries and debts of these enterprises filed last week. Six of the seven Dutch subsidiaries of the Russian concern refused to cooperate with judicial executors, but "this will not affect the arrest in any way," the Ukrainian gas transmission system operator, according to which Russian gas is supplied to Europe, asserts.
Gazprom learned that Naftogaz is taking action to enforce the decision of the Stockholm Arbitration in the Netherlands, a representative of the Russian company said later. Gazprom will provide detailed comments on this issue only after careful examination of the documents, if they are officially received, his representative stated. So far, no official notification has been received from Gazprom in this procedure from anyone, "the Russian company said in a statement. The representative of Gazprom stressed that the company will protect its rights "in accordance with the applicable law."
The second went
In Amsterdam there is the head office of Gazprom International, a 100% subsidiary of Gazprom, which is engaged in the implementation of international projects of the Russian company in the field of prospecting, exploration and development of hydrocarbon fields. In the Netherlands, another structure of Gazprom is based - Gazprom Energy.
The Netherlands became the second European country where the assets of Gazprom are being seized. Last week in Switzerland, bailiffs, pursuant to decisions of international arbitration, demanded the arrest of shares of Swiss companies Nord Stream AG and Nord Stream 2 AG, which are under the control of the Russian concern.
The Stockholm arbitration on February 28 partially satisfied the demands of the Ukrainian company for Gazprom, obliging it to pay $ 4.63 billion for the shortage of gas under the transit agreement. Taking into account Naftogaz's debt, Gazprom owes $ 2.56 bn for supplied gas. Gazprom did not agree with the arbitration award and filed an appeal against the Svea County Court in Sweden.
On the way of YUKOS
Until recently, the largest arrests of Russian property by international arbitration were due to claims of former shareholders of the oil company Yukos. In the summer of 2014, after a ten-year trial, the International Arbitration in The Hague ordered Russia to pay $ 50 billion to Group Menatep Limited, which controlled Yukos. According to the court, Russia violated the Energy Charter and de facto expropriated the oil company from its legitimate owners. In 2016, the District Court of The Hague reversed this decision, but the plaintiffs immediately appealed to him at the Hague Court of Appeal (the first hearing is in essence expected in June 2018). Former Yukos shareholders began arresting Russian assets in Europe - diplomatic missions, their accounts, etc. In France and Belgium, the arrests did not stop even after the decision of the District Court of The Hague. In France, Russia managed to prove the illegality of certain arrests, and the Belgian court upheld the decision to freeze assets by $ 1.6 billion in strength.
Supplies will not suffer
On the capitalization of Gazprom, the seizure of property is not significant: on June 5, the company fell by only 0.5%, to 3.4 trillion rubles. (according to the data at 14:30 Moscow time). While it is not very clear what kind of damage may be caused to Gazprom by the process of asset seizure; the construction of gas pipelines is not, apparently, harming, says ACRA analyst Vasily Tanurkov. In addition, it is obvious that the decision of Stockholm Arbitration has already been included in the value of shares, he adds.
The arrest of Dutch assets of Gazprom is unlikely to affect the supply of Russian gas to Europe, analyst S & P Elena Anankina said. Naftogaz does not initiate the arrest of the most liquid and simple asset of Gazprom in Europe - the actual gas that is transported through Ukraine, obviously because neither side wants to interrupt gas supplies to Europe, she explains.
Naftogaz, probably, could try to arrest Russian gas in underground gas storage facilities (UGS), but this would lead to a conflict with all Europeans and denial of EU support, Tanurkov said. In addition, Gazprom would have received yet another argument in favor of the construction of Nord Stream-2, which is being handled by Nord Stream 2, and the termination of transit through Ukraine, he adds.
"Naftogaz" may not have the right to initiate the arrest of Russian gas if it does not belong to Gazprom, but its subsidiaries that do not bear responsibility for the debts of the parent company, explains Vegas Lex lawyer Alexander Sitnikov. The decision of the Stockholm Arbitration takes effect immediately, the appeal of the arbitration award in connection with the gross procedural violations pointed to in its appeal by Gazprom, does not suspend its execution, unless the defendant has asked and received a separate judicial act, the lawyer says. . Gazprom can appeal against the seizure of assets in the countries where the property is located, and from its arrest to sale, even without appeal, it can take more than six months, he explains. Appealing the seizure of assets may take a month or two, adds Managing Partner of the Criminal Code "Law and Business" Alexander Pakhomov.
Gazprom has money to pay off Naftogaz: on March 31, the accounts of the monopoly were 951 billion rubles., And on deposits in banks - another 571 billion rubles. (only $ 24.6 billion on June 5), that is much more than the size of claims of Naftogaz, says Anankina. Gazprom has already reserved the entire amount of the fine on the dispute with Naftogaz - $ 4.63 billion, follows from the report of the Russian company.
Assets per billions
In addition to 51% of the shares of Nord Stream, which Naftogaz acquired last week in Switzerland, Gazprom owns shares in various joint ventures with European partners, the largest - 50% in WIGA Transport Beteiligungs-GmbH & Co. KG. KG (WIGA), This joint venture with German BASF, among its assets - shares in European gas pipelines, says S & P analyst Elena Anankina. Companies are not traded, and it is impossible to adequately assess the cost of these shares, she says. According to Gazprom, the book value of its stake in Nord Stream is 436.5 billion rubles. (about € 6 billion), in WIGA - 266 billion rubles. (€ 3.6 billion), but these are formal figures, notes Anankin.