Lost energy: Izhmashenergo has gone offshore
Russian managers became so effective that even assets of defense enterprises can now be sold to offshore companies. This is exactly what happened with a subsidiary company of IZHMASH.
More and more unknown companies whose final beneficiaries are offshore firms become owners of the energy infrastructure. Striving for juicy state assets, they act more impudently than their famous competitors. A glaring example of this is the situation with Izhevsk heat distribution networks.
In 1997, IZHMASH (currently the Kalashnikov Concern), the backbone enterprise of Izhevsk, has founded Izhmashenergo Open Joint Stock Company to manage the majority of municipal heat distribution networks. However, over time Izhmashenergo, similarly with IZHMASH, has closely approached bankruptcy. As of October 2009 gas arrears of Izhmashenergo exceeded 11 million rubles, while the residents had been frequently left without hot water. To protect the state assets, the company has been granted the natural monopoly status. As time showed, even the governmental control could not protect a subsidiary company of the defense enterprise.
Notification of inclusion of Izhmashenergo into the registry of natural monopolies
On July 5, 2010, Rostech Corporation handling the state portfolio of IZHMASH shares has introduced a moratorium on alienation of energy facilities to third parties. In July 2011 first lawsuits requiring to recognize Izhmashenergo bankrupt have been filed to the Arbitration Court of the Udmurt Republic. It is necessary to note that the decision to commence bankruptcy procedures for almost all subsidiary companies of IZHMASH was made by the Rostech management. Maksim Kuzyuk, then-General Director of the company, had stated that the bankruptcy procedures would allow to save the asset complex of the enterprise. It became clear later what did he mean by saving. The bankruptcy is a lengthy procedure; it is still ongoing with regards to Izhmashenergo. However, despite the moratorium, the main asset complex of the company was sold by auction in June 2016.
Moratorium on alienation of energy facilities to third parties
First of all, it is glaringly obvious that the value of Izhmashenergo was artificially low (slightly more than 108.7 million rubles) – especially taking that the company was managing the majority of municipal heat distribution networks. Aleksander Maidanov, the insolvency manager for Izhmashenergo, is well-known due to a series of successful bankruptcies, including the infamous RIGroup.
The vast majority of the Izhevsk energy infrastructure is now in private hands. The new owner is some Izhmashenergoservice Limited Liability Company; its legal address is a place of mass registration of commercial companies. Its founder is Armani Closed Joint Stock Company specializing mainly in wholesale trades; it is also officially located at one of the mass registration addresses. The past history of both companies raises further questions.
Izhmashenergoservice was founded by Armani trading company in 2012, and in the same year, the firm has started supplying heat to the city of Izhevsk – the official web site of Izhmashenergoservice confirms this. In one of its cases, the Arbitration Court of the Udmurt Republic had recognized the affiliation of Izhmashenergoservice and Izhmashenergo on the basis of a number of facts. The two companies were registered at the same address, R.V. Tsypushtanov was the head of both as of 2013, and all employees of Izhmashenergo have been transferred to Izhmashenergoservice. Izhmashenergoservice had acquired the accounts receivable of Izhmashenergo more than once. All attempts to challenge the victory of Izhmashenergoservice have failed.
Abbreviate of adjudication in the case No. A71-4392/2013
Cetrara Trading Limited, a Cyprus-based offshore company is a co-founder of Armani. The Cypriot company has provided the majority of the charter capital of Armani. Later some Aleksey Landyrev has become the only participant in Armani. Changes have also affected the subsidiary Izhmashenergoservice: the company left the energy business, and its boiler stations now belong to the District Heating Supply Company. Cetrara Trading Limited was liquidated and is not listed in the public registry of Cypriot companies anymore.
Identical web sites of the two companies
The owners do not even try to conceal that the District Heating Supply Company is a dummy entity. Even the design of its official web site is identical to that of Izhmashenergoservice. The District Heating Supply Company is registered at the same mass registration address; its head is the same R.V. Tsypushtanov. But a real surprise is that the only founder of the District Heating Supply Company is a well-known person – Aleksey Vitalievich Potolitsyn.
Potolitsyn appears where large-scale bankruptcies take place. He was the General Director of now-bankrupt Bryanskoblenergo and the Deputy General Director of Atlantic Limited Liability Company – that has become the owner of Pavlovskgranit in 2012 and played a significant role in its bankruptcy.
Aleksey Potolitsyn. Still from video of Rossia 24
The presence of such professionals as Potolitsyn raises questions about true reasons behind the bankruptcy of Izhmashenergo. Apparently, Potolitsyn is only a formal owner of the District Heating Supply Company, the heat distribution networks of Izhevsk are to be sold again pretty soon, and a new offshore company would appear instead of bygone Cetrara Trading Limited. According to the energy conservation principle, nothing disappears without a trace.
Saburova believes that the Russian authorities violated articles 2 and 5 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, guaranteeing the right to life, as well as the right to freedom and personal inviolability.