Alexander Pleshakov, a shareholder of Russia’s troubled Transaero Airlines and husband of Transaero co-owner Olga Pleshakova, has issued a statement dismissing S7 Group’s allegations that he failed to amass 51% of the carrier’s unencumbered shares for subsequent sale to S7 co-owner Vladislav Filev. Pleshakov says he held 59% of the company’s shares when signing the sale agreement with Filev on October 20, and that he could have bought even more shares on the market or from other shareholders. He also asserts that Filev was aware of the fact that part of Transaero’s securities had been pawned for loans.
Pleshakov says Filev’s refusal to purchase Transaero is in breach of the agreement, under which the transaction is to be closed within 60 days of the signing. He also believes that Filev may have decided against buying the airline following talks with Aeroflot CEO Vitaly Saveliev which, Pleshakov says, took plAce on November 2. Aeroflot declines to comment.
Filev’s decision not to buy the controlling stake in Transaero became known late in the evening on November 2. His spouse Natalya Fileva, the second major co-owner of S7Group, explained the decision by Pleshakov’s failure to amass 51% of Transaero shares, adding that the remaining shares were incumbered with third-party rights.
When announcing his decision to purchase a stake in Transaero at the time when the carrier’s airline operating certificate was still valid, Filev stated his intention to buy at least 51%, and to cede part of them to the airline’s creditors towards settlement of some of its debts. Part of the shares were to be acquired this week, with the rest to be bought at a later date, following S7 Group’s application to the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS). Pleshakov asserts that S7 Group has not yet filed its application with the FAS.
Earlier, Transaero failed to strike a merger deal with Aeroflot because the former’s shareholders did not submit the required number of shares on time. Pleshakov says the deal with S7 Group would have been more beneficial for Transaero, because Aeroflot had planned to lay off up to 40% of the carrier’s personnel. Filev, under the agreement signed with Transaero, was to merge it with the S7 Group airlines within 18 months. In addition, Pleshakov says he was planning to use the money acquired from the transaction to repay Transaero’s outstanding debts.
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