Duty free operator appeals against recovery of $15 million in favor of VTB
MOSCOW, June 10 (RAPSI) – Duty free operator Aerofirst has appealed against a ruling requiring it to clear more than 1 billion rubles ($15 million) arrears in payment to Bank VTB, the records of the Moscow Commercial Court read.
On May 5, the court complied with the demands put forward by the plaintiff in full. Bank VTB petitioned to recover the arrears relating to a credit agreement made in October of 2014. According to a bank representative, Aerofirst ceased to satisfy its obligations under the agreement in November of 2015 as concerned both the principal and interests, what made the bank to lodge its claim.
The court dismissed the defendant’s counter-claim appealing against the provisions of the agreement concerning the payment of commission fees.
The duty free operator’s counsel asked the court to stay the proceedings until the dispute could be settled in an amicable way. The bank representative countered that the company did not present evidence that it had sent such an offer to the Bank VTB; the defendant’s petition was dismissed.
This January, Bank VTB lodged claims demanding company Arial and its 100% subsidiary Aerofirst to repay the debt. A court is to review a claim to Aerofirst requesting it to pay 1.6 billion rubles ($25 million) on July 20, proceedings with regard to recovering of more than 1 billion rubles ($15 million) from Arial will resume on July 7, and a 1.6 billion rubles ($25 million) claim to Arial will be examined on July 19.
As it has been reported earlier, Aerofirst operates duty free shops under “Moscow Duty Free” brand since its first shop was established in Sheremetyevo in 1988, what makes it the oldest duty free operator in Russia. The company web site shows that it has ten shops in Sheremetyevo F terminal and 13 shops in Domodedovo airport.
Arial operates the Runway Duty Free network in Russia’s airports. The statistics for 2013 show that the company owns more than 20 shops in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo, Domodedovo and Novosibirsk airport Tolmachevo. Arial purchased 66.66% of shares in Aerofirst from Aeroflot for 1.23 billion rubles ($19 million) in 2012. Later Arial has bought the remaining shares from Irish duty free operator Aer Rianta.
In early February it was reported that Sberbank intended to initiated proceedings to declare Aerofirst bankrupt.