The court was told the application was being made following a recent decree, purportedly issued by Russian Federation President Valdimir Putin, that the Russian state would cover US$1.3BN of the two firms’ debts.
Mr Justice Brian O’Moore expressed his view about a proposal to place GTLK Europe DAC, and the related entity GTLK Europe Captial DAC into examinership during Friday’s vacation sitting of the High Court.
The judge said that the application to appoint an examiner when the court was due to commence the hearing of an application, next Monday morning, to have the firms wound up.
Four the firms’ creditors have asked the High Court to appoint a liquidator to the related firms, which are worth over US$4.5/€4.11 Billion on the grounds the firms are insolvent and unable to pay their debts.
The four, whose petition is being supported by other creditors of the group, want Damien Murran and Julian Moroney of Teneo Restructuring Ireland appointed as joint liquidators to the companies which have been hard hit by international sanctions imposed on Russia following the invasion of Ukraine.
The companies are opposing the application and have claimed in those proceedings that despite the sanctions, they are solvent.
If that application, which is due to commence before Mr Justice Conor Dignam on Monday, is successful and a liquidator appointed to the firms, it would be the largest winding up in the history of the Irish State.
However, on Friday the companies brought a petition before Mr Justice O’Moore seeking the appointment of insolvency practioner Mr Joe Walsh as examiner to the companies.
The companies claim in the examinership proceedings that they have become insolvent as a result of the sanctions.
The court heard that an Independent Expert had stated in a report that if an examiner is appointed, and a scheme of arrangement with the firm’s creditors can be agreed, the two companies have a reasonable prospect of surviving into the future as going concerns.
GTLK’s creditors would do better under a successful examinership, compared to a liquidation, it was also submitted.
One of the grounds for seeking the protection of the courts was a decree made by President Putin regarding GTLK’s debt.
The court heard that the Russian state would cover US$1.3Bn of GTLK’s debt through a bond issue.
Mr Justice O’Moore said that he was not making any orders in respect of the examinership application other than adjourn it to Monday morning.
The judge said that he was sceptical and had difficulties about a number of matters in the proposed examinership, given that the application had been made shortly before the applications to wind up the companies was about to be heard.
The judge he was further sceptical about the Russian President’s decree which he said purports to write off a huge amount of debt owed by the companies.
His concerns were borne out the the fact that a huge debt owed by the GTLK group, which is owned by the Russian Federation’s Ministry of Transport, was being covered by an administration run by President Putin.
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