Montenegro exclusive: Gov pressure on A2A over Power utility depts, the report

5. May 2014. / SEE Energy News

“The triangle consists of the debt of EPCG for the state taxes, the debt of KAP for electricity and obviously of some promise which has been given to the Italians,” Bojanic is indicating. The new model of conversion of EPCG debt into state’s shares has not been addressed to the Parliament yet, because its precondition is declaration of the owner – of the Government and the A2A, which have to be verified at the EPCG Assembly of shareholders, ” they say in the Ministry of Finance. Members of the Parliament of Montenegro are expecting the state to collect the debt by increasing the percentage of ownership, which now stands at 55 percent, but not to accept the price a cent per share. In this way, even though the state would have about two per cent additional stake, the entire tax debt of 45 million would have not been used in the recapitalization, but only tens of thousands of euros. The Italian company A2A, which manages the EPCG has  43.7 percent stake, and as a result of conversion of debt into shares of the state, its share would fell to 41.7 percent.

The Shareholders Assembly of Electric Enterprise (EPCG), which was postponed twice, has not been scheduled yet. The decisions that should have been made relating to the manner of repayment of the tax debt of 45 million euros to the state and about providing electricity for the Aluminum Factory (KAP) at 38 euros per megawatt-hour which the owner of Niksic Uniprom, Veselin Pejovic asked for.

The session of EPCG Assembly was canceled two weeks ago when representatives of the majority of the state capital didn’t appear, stating that they didn’t have the consent of a partner – Italian company’s  A2A  regarding these issues.

Members of the Parliament of Montenegro are expecting the state to collect the debt by increasing the percentage of ownership, which now stands at 55 percent, but not to accept the price a cent per share. In this way, even though the state would have about two per cent additional stake, the entire tax debt of 45 million would have not been used in the recapitalization, but only tens of thousands of euros. The Italian company A2A, which manages the EPCG has  43.7 percent stake, and as a result of conversion of debt into shares of the state, its share would fell to 41.7 percent.

“It is obvious that an agreement wasn’t reached between the Government and the A2A how to  close a magic triangle which make  EPCG’s debt to the state for taxes, debt of the  KAP to EPCG of 45 million euros, and obviously the third part is a promise made on behalf of the Government given to the Italian partner, “said a Member of Positive Party  Mladen Bojanic. It is  tragicomic, he assesses, the Government, which has a majority on the Board of Directors and shall convene the Assembly, doesn’t appear on the session.

“It is clear, that the representatives of the Government said to the EPCG not to pay taxes until the issue of KAP become solved, but it was not easy to implement,” he said, adding that since the KAP is in bankruptcy, they can hardly count on collection of receivables.

“The solution is not easy to find because everything is pretty out of control and we will see what proposal they will submit. Sale of shares per a cent is completely wrong, “said Bojanic.

A member of the Parliament from SNP Aleksandar Damjanovic said the attitudes of EPCG about Pejovic’s offer were not mentioned enough, about the price of electricity supply for KAP of which will depend on the fate of that company in bankruptcy.

“I do not want to believe, considering that the five-year contract of managing A2A in EPCG expires at the end of the year, that postponing of the Assembly session has to do with the negotiations on the future management that are being conducted out of the public eye ,” he said.

Damjanovic said that the Assembly would have to discuss debt collection seriously.

“If the two percent equal to 45 million euros, and such mathematics is applied at the end, that means that the current market value of EPCG is at the level of two billion euros,” Damjanovic said.

A parliament member from SDP, Damir Sehovc said that the Government had to respect the Law on Budget and perform the conversion of EPCG tax debt into state owned shares, at the nominal value of the shares.

“I see no other legal way to get this transaction done, and thereby to protect the public interest and collect the tax debt which no one, not even EPCG, deny and neither can dispute about,” Sehovic said. He recommended that it would have been the best solution to respect the Law on the Budget, recalling that it had been already violated because the recapitalization should have been completed by March 31st.

Ministry: Forced tax collection if the model fails

“The new model of conversion of EPCG debt into state’s shares has not been addressed to the Parliament yet, because its precondition is declaration of the owner – of the Government and the A2A, which have to be verified at the EPCG Assembly of shareholders, ” they say in the Ministry of Finance.

“On two occasions we have addressed a letter to EPCG asking the company to initiate the procedure of debt conversion into share capital in order to be respected the deadline of the Budget Law,” it is stated from the Ministry.” If the Parliament of Montenegro doesn’t adopt the modified model of debt conversion, Tax and Customs Administration will have access to measures of enforced collection,” it was pointed out from the Government departments.

The question if they fear that someone could file a criminal complaint because the legal time frame has not been respected, within which the debt should have been charged, has not been answered yet. The deadline expired on March 31st.

Source; Serbia Energy See Desk

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