VARNA SHIPYARD - A CAT-AND-MOUSE GAME
The Varna Court of Appeal postponed once again the lawcase initiated by the Polish H. Cigielsky Co. and the Central Cooperative Bank (CCB) against the approved in May 2000 Varna Shipyard's list of creditors. The reason was the Polish company lawyer's illness. So judges appointed a new sitting on February 27, 2001.
The claim placed by the Polish company and CCB is against their exclusion from the Varna Shipyard's secured creditors list. H. Cigielsky Co.'s representatives claim that they have a collateral on the receivables from the sale of a 42,000 MT ship, which is almost 90% ready. According to Varna District Court, however, that is not enough grounds to consider them secured creditors. The actual question is what will be the amount of the compensation creditors will receive in case the rehabilitation programme is implemented. According to it, secured creditors will be compensated by approximately 30% of their receivables, while non-secured - by only 4%.
For a third week in a row Varna Court of Appeal is not able to appoint another, even more important lawsuits, where the claim was placed by twelve Varna Shipyard creditors, once again directed against the adoption of its rehabilitation plan. According to Dimitar Smilenov, the company's curator, the reason is that the Pernik-based Bulcom has not yet been served its subpoena. This is mandatory for appointing the sitting.
According to preliminary expectations, the local Court of Appeal was supposed to announce its decision till mid February. The problem is that postponing interferes with British Camel Leard's plans. The company was approved as Varna Shipyard assets buyer by the creditor's general assembly, which took place on August 30, 2000. Part of the fourth class creditors, among them Bulgarian Marine, consider the BGL4MN compensation for the group absolutely inadequate. That is the reason for the on-going lawsuits against the general assembly's decisions. On December 27, 2000 those claims were rejected by the first instance - Varna District Court.
Should the Court of Appeal also reject their claims, they may refer them to the Supreme Court of Cassation. Only after that will Camel Leard be able to gain control over the shipyard.
In case the highest level court confirms the decision of the district court, the British company will have to compensate the creditors with the amount of BGL28.6MN. The amount represents just 15.71% of Varna Shipyard's total liabilities. Camel Leard has made a committment to invest at least USD5MN in the company.