Victor Vekselberg plant owes billions to banks and the Federal Tax Service

The Federal Tax Service announced a debt of half a billion rubles. Unicredit and Rosbank were asked to wait until 2023.
Experts of the metallurgical market declare financial problems of a large refinery “Renova” in the Sverdlovsk region. In order to achieve a four-year installment plan in court in paying almost 2.3 billion rubles in debt to banks, the Yekaterinburg Non-Ferrous Metals Processing Plant was forced to lay its main production shops and land in Verkhnyaya Pyshma, where the plant is located. At the same time, the refinery is trying to recover from the tax authorities about 350 million rubles, without explaining what the claims to the fiscal authority are related to. Meanwhile, the sources of the publication agree that it was the conflict with the tax authorities, who obliged the company to return 2 billion to the budget three years ago, which caused Renova’s dismissal of two plant directors, debts under loan agreements and a breakdown in relations with former industrial partners. Due to the refusal of banks to grant a loan to the Yekaterinburg OTSM plant, the company left the SIBUR project in the Tyumen region without platinoids.

JSC “Yekaterinburg Non-Ferrous Metal Processing Plant” (EZOTsM, Verkhnyaya Pyshma, owned by the Renova group of Viktor Vekselberg) demanded that the Federal Tax Service Interdistrict Inspectorate for major taxpayers No. 10 pay 347 million rubles. On what basis does the refining company try to get these funds, the materials of the arbitration court have not yet indicated - the application has not been accepted for production.

The third party in the proceedings claimed another unit of the tax authorities of the Sverdlovsk region, working with the largest taxpayers.

At the time of publication of the material at the Yekaterinburg plant, the OTsM did not comment on what the requirements are related to.

This is not the first conflict of the enterprise with the tax authorities. In 2016, representatives of the Federal Tax Service said that the company illegally received a VAT refund of almost 2 billion rubles, and demanded a refund to the budget. As reported by Pravda Ural Federal District, desk audits showed that in 2012-2013, the EZOTsM bought precious metals from Strategy Bank through one-day firms that did not pay VAT. At the same time, it was proved in court that the metal in bank bullion did not require any processing, it was delivered to the factory directly.

Then representatives of the Plaurum group, which includes the plant, said that when buying raw materials for export products, they could not know that their suppliers “participated in a scheme organized by banks for tax evasion”. According to them, the victims of the banking scheme were 11 refineries in Russia.

Meanwhile, the plant lost a dispute with the Federal Tax Service under four lawsuits in which the company’s lawyers tried to challenge the requirements for a refund to the budget. They could not introduce interim measures either, the plant had to return the tax money before the court decisions entered into force.

Sources of Pravda Ural Federal District in the field of metallurgy said that after a series of defeats of the EJECC in the courts of his post, the general director Denis Borovkov lost. Alexander Andreev, who was appointed to his place on December 28, 2017, was still trying to challenge claims that were unprofitable for the plant, but the court of appeal refused to satisfy the claims. Today Andreev also lost his post, and the new manager Alexander Okatov was appointed director of the OTsM plant in July of this year.
It is likely that in order to stabilize the financial situation after the write-offs by the tax authorities, the shareholders of the EZOTsM approved large transactions on attracting foreign currency loans in Rosbank (part of the Societe Generale group) and Unicredit Bank (part of the Italian company UniCredit Group). After 2 years, both financial organizations were forced in court to seek payment of foreign currency loans and interest on loans.

In the case of Rosbank, 2 loans were granted to the plant from Verkhnyaya Pyshma in October and November 2016. The total debt at the time of the trial amounted to $ 24 million, and the parties signed a settlement agreement before satisfying the creditor's claims. The EJECM guaranteed to financial institutions once a half a year to transfer debt balances and interest for using a foreign currency loan in the amount of 6% per annum, and to repay the debt until June 30, 2023. At the current dollar exchange rate, the total amount of debt to Rosbank exceeded 1.5 billion rubles.

Initially, it was not possible to sign a settlement agreement with Unicredit Bank. Litigation lasted until September of this year. The Arbitration Court of the Sverdlovsk Region satisfied the claims of bankers, who in February 2017 provided 2 loans of more than 8.4 million US dollars (more than 500 million rubles in ruble terms). Another 275 million rubles were allocated to the plant in rubles. As part of the appeal of the EZOTsM and the co-defendant in the lawsuit of the EZOTsM-Trading LLC, which was declared bankrupt in August this year due to an outstanding debt of 800 thousand rubles, they proposed signing a settlement agreement. The companies of the Renova group promised to pay off all the debt also until June 2023.

Meanwhile, the financial situation of both legal entities raises a lot of questions from experts: in order to negotiate with banks, the company had to lay down all the main production buildings, as well as the land in Verkhnyaya Pyshma, on which the plant and its subsidiaries have been stationed since 2010. Currently, the bankruptcy procedure "EZOTsM-Trading" (a wholly-owned "daughter" of EZOTsM, which was engaged in precious metals trading) has joined the tax authorities. MIFNS No. 32 in the Sverdlovsk region demanded to include in the register of creditors a debt on taxes and duties of 492 million rubles. At the request of the bankruptcy trustee Pavel Silitsky, the hearing was postponed until October 24.

Due to liquidity problems, the EJOCM has spoiled its reputation in relations with industrialists. “They seriously failed SIBUR. They turned to them for delivery, won the tender, but refused to sign the contract, because they didn’t find the money to fulfill the contract for the supply of platinoids, ”the source of the publication from the Tyumen region outlined the situation. Confirmation of this fact was found in the materials of the arbitration court of the Sverdlovsk region. SIBUR Tobolsk LLC demanded to pay him 495 thousand US dollars (about 30 million rubles) of lost profit.

To clarify, in the fall of 2017, the SIBUR structure placed a tender on its trading platform for the supply of 242 tons of spent Deh-16 propane dehydrogenation catalyst with a platinum content of 658.6 kg. The Renova plant offered the best price and won the competition, but after that began to evade the conclusion of the contract. As a result, the EEOCM refused the contract, explaining that the banks refused to provide a loan to service this transaction. The requirements were denied to SIBUR, as there was no contract between the parties, but the fact that the deal was disrupted due to money problems became a serious signal for the market.

Officially, the company ceased to disclose its financial results back in 2016. Nevertheless, according to the sources, at the end of 2018, the plant’s revenue more than halved - from 13.8 billion to 5.7 billion rubles. EZOTsM worked last year with a profit of 143 million rubles, but to achieve this indicator the company had to reduce management expenses by 100 million rubles, which in 2016 and 2017 exceeded 300 million rubles.