A line is drawn in a long dispute regarding “Astrakhan Port”

09-02-2016 | 11:42

The findings of the Arbitration Court of Povolzhie District of 04.02.2016 approved the conditions of an amicable settlement between FAS and foreign shareholders of “Astrakhan Port” OJSC, providing for the steps to eliminate violations of No. 57-FZ Federal Law.

In 2011, Iranian companies “Hazar See Shipping Lines”, “South Way Shipping Agency” and “Azores Shipping Company L.L.FZE” of the Arab Emirates made a number of transactions and established control over a Russian strategic company - “Astrakhan Port” OJSC.

Under No. 57-FZ Federal Law “On the Procedure of Foreign Investments in Economic Entities of Strategic Importance for the National Defence and State Security”, transactions that lead to control over Russian strategic companies are subject to a preliminary approval by the Government Commission on Control over Foreign Investments in the Russian Federation by filing petitions to FAS.

The foreign companies did not file the petitions. Thus, in 2012 FAS brought an action to invalidate the transactions. Courts of two instances allowed FAS claim. When the Cassation Court was examining the case, the Antimonopoly Service and foreign shareholders reached an amicable settlement.

“The settlement and its approval by the Court finally drew a line in the dispute. The Iranian companies admitted that they failed to comply with the procedures required under No. 57-FZ Federal Law”, said the Head of FAS Department for Control over Foreign Investments, Armen Khanyan.

As a result, within six months the foreign companies must alienate their shares of “Astrakhan Port” OJSC. According to the settlement, the buyer can be either Russian organizations that are not under control of a foreign investor or an organization that has a preapproval from the Legal Commission on Foreign Investments.

“Possibility of a settlement and its conditions in view of the established partner relations between Russia and Iran and the importance of trade turnover between the two countries have been long discussed with the Iranian and perhaps the buyer is already known”, added Armen Khanyan. On 11 December 2015, the Legal Commission preapproved the transactions for buying port shares by "NasimBahrKish" of Iran.

Deputy Head of FAS Andrey Tsyganov commented on the case outcome: “Such an event once again demonstrates that the relations formed between Russia and Iran are characterized exclusively as friendly and business-style, aimed at long-term prospective and strengthening trust between us. The reached settlement allowed to resolve the dispute while the Iranian company, that received an approval from the Legal Commission, can invest in “Astrakhan Port” OJSC”.