YEREVAN, February 20. / ARKA /. Vazgen Safaryan, head of the Union of Domestic Commodity Producers, urged the government today to do everything possible to resume production of synthetic rubber at chemical plant Nairit.
Officials from Russian state-owned oil company Rosneft, Pirelli Tyre Russia and Rosneft- Armenia signed in Yerevan on December 25 a memorandum of understanding to establish a joint venture for production of synthetic rubber at Nirit. The memorandum and several other agreements aimed at enhancing cooperation were signed after the meeting of Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan with Rosneft head Igor Sechin.
Later, Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan said Rosneft planned to invest $400 million in construction of a new plant in Armenia. Also Russian ambassador to Armenia, Ivan Volynkin, expressed hope that Nairit’s personnel would be recruited by the new enterprise.
Safaryan said to a news conference today that to begin production of rubber Nairit may start cooperation with Yerevan thermal power plant and use gas shipped by Iran and pay for it by rubber. This way the plant may generate proceeds to pay back its huge debt, he said.
In 2006, 90% of Nairit’s shares were sold to British RHinoville Property Limited for $40 million. The remaining 10% belong to the Armenian government. RHinоville Property Limited was set up by Polish Samex, US Intertex and Russian Eurogaz. In April 2010 the plant stopped producing rubber. Before the halt, it sold synthetic rubber to EU countries, Russia (about 30% of the exports), the United States and 20 other countries.
In January the Moscow Arbitration Court ruled that Rhinoville Property Limited pay $107.95 million to the Interstate Bank. Particularly, the court ordered that the company pay $ 68.6 million of principal debt as well as interests and penalty on an Interstate Bank loan. Representatives of the defendant, as well as Nairit did not attend the court session despite being notified.
According to media reports, in 2006 the Interstate Bank opened a $70 million credit line for Rhinoville Property Limited. The Interstate Bank filed also another lawsuit against Nairit, which acts as a guarantor of the loan, for the recovery of $25.183 million.
In 2013 February the court returned the lawsuit against the bank on grounds that it was filed with a violation of the rules, but the appeal court overturned this ruling. The new court hearing on this lawsuit is scheduled for March 11. -0-