13 Sep 2023 17:57

Ukrnafta to manage assets of gas station chain

MOSCOW. Sept 13 (Interfax) - The Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine agreed to place the assets of the Glusco gas station chain under the management of Ukrnafta, Ukrainian media said, citing the country's Asset Recovery and Management Agency (ARMA).

According to the management agreement, the company undertakes to pay at least 5 million hryvnia to the budget monthly regardless of financial results. "Ukrnafta must also transfer 85% of profits from managing the assets of oligarch Viktor Medvedchuk [a former Ukrainian member of parliament] to the state treasury," ARMA head Elena Duma said.

Glusco's assets were previously managed by the Naftogaz Oil Trading Company, to which ARMA transferred 99 out of 212 sites for management last year, the ARMA press release said. A number of the assets were located in territories not controlled by Kiev and were not functioning.

After an audit in 2023, ARMA noted the ineffectiveness of Naftogaz Oil Trading's management of the assets and contacted the Cabinet of Ministers with a proposal to appoint a new manager.

"The agency's only strategic goal when selecting a manager of seized property is to maximize its contributions to the state budget," the press release said.

Director of Ukrnafta Sergei Koretsky wrote on social media that the company has sufficient experience and the resources to ensure the effective management of the Glusco gas station chain and its operation.

Meanwhile, the chairman of the board of Naftogaz of Ukraine, Alexey Chernyshov, wrote on social media that "the Cabinet of Ministers also instructed that the issue of reimbursement of expenses incurred by Naftogaz Oil Trading LLC (the U.GO gas station chain), which participated in the restoration of Medvedchuk's seized commercial assets, be resolved. I remind you that both companies, Ukrnafta and Naftogaz Oil Trading, are part of the Naftogaz group and continue to operate."

Naftogaz claims that, under the management of Naftogaz Oil Trading, operations at 81 gas stations and one oil depot, which had been shut for a year-and-a -half, has been resumed. From August 2022 to July 2023, UAH 289 million was paid in mandatory payments to state and local budgets.

While managing Glusco's assets, the group invested significant funds in restoring the chain's operations, repaid its debts, and at ARMA's request, paid "some part of future profits, which are not yet being discussed,"Chernyshov said.

As reported, a number of media outlets linked Glusco facilities with Viktor Medvedchuk, while Glusco Ukraine LLC denied any connection with him.

In November 2022, the Ukrainian authorities decided to withdraw shares of Ukrnafta (with the exception of the controlling stake in Naftogaz of Ukraine) into state ownership for the duration of martial law. Before the seizure, business entities belonging to Igor Kolomoisky and Gennady Bogolyubov owned about 42% of the shares.

At the end of March 2023, Ukrnafta had 89 fields with 3,700 oil and gas wells and operated 451 gas stations.

The official exchange rate as of September 13 is 36.57 UAH/$1.