US creditors announce bankruptcy proceedings against Odessa grain terminal owners

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/rvbox
© GettyImages/rvbox

Related tags Ukraine grain terminal

US investment companies, Argentem Creek Partners (ACP) and Innovatus Capital Partners, have issued notification that bankruptcy proceedings have commenced at Olimpex Coupe International in Lviv, Ukraine.

A subsidiary of GNT Group, Olimpex Coupe International operates a grain terminal in Odesa, Ukraine.

ACP and Innovatus are creditors to the GNT group. They said the action is one of the steps taken by Madison Pacific Trust Limited, in its capacity as security trustee for lending by ACP and Innovatus, and the newly appointed directors at Olimpex Coupe International.

Last month, the English high court issued an order to freeze the assets​ of the owners of the GNT Group and Olimpex Coupe International.

The US creditors said the decision to file for bankruptcy follows GNT’s reported failure to repay its lenders, material shortcomings of governance and transparency, the dissipation of assets since enforcement proceedings began, and investigations into the still unexplained disposals of 400,000 tons of grain and sunflower seeds, worth about US$130m.

“Bankruptcy proceedings for this particular entity are a necessary legal step to restructure the group towards profitability, transparency, tax compliance and proper corporate governance,” said Ana Firmato, managing director of Innovatus.

The two investment firms, which have a long-standing history of investing in Ukraine, said they remain committed to ensuring that the Olimpex grain terminal is managed correctly according to Ukrainian and international standards.

Ukraine grain corridor

A bankruptcy manager will be appointed and tasked with ensuring there are no disruptions to the terminal’s operations during the proceedings, explained John Patton, portfolio manager, EMEA & Asia at ACP. “This comprehensive reorganization is the best way to protect employees’ jobs and the operational running of the terminal, ensuring that it plays an important role in the Black Sea Grain Initiative. The success of the grain corridor is crucial for the people of Ukraine and international food security more broadly.”

The GNT terminal has a capacity of around 4.5m tons per annum.

In a media statement released on February 6, a GNT Group representative said that the group was evaluating its options and asking for ACP’s forbearance and cooperation and for it not to take any action that “could disrupt the critical work” at the grain terminal.

“Their aggression is misguided, and their assertions are inconsistent with well-established facts,” alleged the GNT Group spokesperson.

“After months of dealing with the crisis of the war and the heroic efforts of the workers at the terminal, operations can run smoothly. And the grain is getting to those in need.

“GNT Group is eager to sit with ACP and work out a friendly solution that does not diminish or cease operations of this vital link in the food supply chain during this critical time,” reads the statement.

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