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Monday, June 22, 2009

Vyborg not going bust, claims Arkhangelsky

David Osler - Friday 19 June 2009


Data shows Vyborg has six ships on order at Uljanik.

OSLO Marine Group president Vitaly Arkhangelsky insists that vessel-operating arm Vyborg Shipping is not going to go bust and that its recent moves to file for bankruptcy are largely designed to improve his poker hand with creditors.
“[The company] is not bankrupt or in administration. The company applied to the court to start the process and it will start it in July. It doesn’t mean anything yet,” he told Lloyd’s List by telephone from Moscow.
“The company is still trading and its office is full of staff and we are not withdrawing from any of our contracts. Creditors have to decide whether they want a bankruptcy or an agreement.”
All three Vyborg vessels — the 1995-built, 6,900 dwt OMG Gatchina; the 2000-built, 6,800 dwt OMG Kolpino; and the 2000-built, 6,800 dwt OMG Tosno — have recently been arrested after failure to pay salaries and bunker bills.
Dr Arkhangelsky said that Bank of St Petersburg was seeking to have the ships sold at auction, but added that his intention is to continue to trade them.
“To default, there has to be a court hearing and all this stuff and I don’t think it will work like this. Maybe our application to the court will stimulate the bank to withdraw their application to withdraw the loans. We believe we will be able to solve all the problems as soon as we find a common language with the Bank of St Petersburg,” he said.
Dr Arkhangelsky also argues that the company intends to see through at least 20 newbuilding orders at various European yards, although according to other sources, the status of these orders is unclear.
One industry standard database shows that Vyborg has 10 vessels on order at Damen Shipyard Group in the Netherlands and a further six at Uljanik in Croata. Dr Arkhangelsky claims that a further four are on order at Poland’s Remontowa.
Incorporated as recently as June 2005, OMG was until recently seen as a rising star in Russia’s maritime industries, and is active in real estate, insurance, timber production and distribution and port operations as well as shipping.
In a statement on the situation at Vyborg Shipping, Dr Arkhangelsky blasted the primitive methods used by Russian banks engaged in ship finance, saying that they do not understand the sector and are only ready to offer short-term loans.
“Terms and conditions of Russian banks make Russian applicants go to western banks and build ships in Asia,” it argued. “And in the case of building or buying a ship abroad, the shipowner most likely registers it under the flag of a suitable foreign country.”