BBC Monitoring Service reported that the state has won yet another victory in a controversial privatization process. The Lugansk regional economic court stopped the reorganization of the Severodonetsk Azot production association and closed the plant's bankruptcy case.

Court disputes involving the privatization of Severodonetsk Azot have lasted for more than a year. Luganskoblenergo (Lugansk regional energy distribution company), which is the plant's main creditor and which started the process, complained that the decision on its bankruptcy and the change of owners was taken in its absence.

The state also had complaints about the investors, as the privatization was carried out in an unlawful way, and the budget has not received a penny. This is proved by documents of the State Property Fund and the Justice Ministry.

Prime Minister Yuliya Tymoshenko stated that the best part of Severodonetsk Azot has
been separated from the state enterprise and included in the authorized capital of a private enterprise without any privatization procedures or payment.

Oleksiy Danylov, captioned as head of the Lugansk regional state administration reckoned that the state has not received a single penny for 60% stake in a powerful association like Azot. Not a single penny. How could this have happened? The 60% stake was presented to someone.

The investors - the US company Worldwide Chemical LLC - have a differing opinion. They undertook to invest $120 million in the plant's development and upgrading. They have already invested half of it, but this had no bearing on the bankruptcy process. It was in full swing at the time.

So the Americans did not risk making any further investment, quoting the unstable situation. They are going to look for the truth in the Supreme Court. But the government thinks that the problem has been settled.

Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko said that the Cabinet of Ministers approved a schedule for putting the plant up for a repeat privatization competition in the spring. The competition will be fair and transparent. Any investor, even the former owner, can take part. But they will have to pay much more. Experts estimate the price at about UAH 2 milliard (400 million dollars).


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