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Sberbank tries to seize Glencore assets over oil debt

Tan KW
Publish date: Fri, 22 Sep 2023, 12:03 PM
Tan KW
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MOSCOW: Russia’s largest bank is attempting to seize some of Glencore Plc’s Russian assets as compensation for what it says is an unpaid oil trading debt.

Sberbank PJSC is asking a Moscow court for €114.8mil (US$123mil) in compensation after its Swiss commodity trading unit sold oil to Glencore but never received payment, according to documents published on the court website.

The claim highlights the precariousness of international companies’ assets in Russia since the war in Ukraine triggered several waves of sanctions and retaliatory measures.

Moscow this year has seized local operations of several international holdings, including France’s Danone SA and Denmark’s Carlsberg A/S.

Still, Glencore - which has longstanding ties in Russia and whose former chief executive was awarded the Order of Friendship by Vladimir Putin in 2017 - has so far avoided the threat of expropriation.

In the Moscow court case, Sberbank is seeking shares in the Russian assets of Glencore as well as its grain-trading associate Viterra as compensation for the oil debt.

Sberbank was sanctioned by the United States, European Union and some other regions and is barred from the SWIFT banking network, preventing payments to the lender from its former business partners.

The bank first filed the claim in July and was initially seeking to have the shares frozen before the final decision on the case.

The court rejected this plea at the end of August, the documents show.

Glencore’s Russian assets, which Sberbank is attempting to seize, include 0.6% of oil giant Rosneft PJSC and 10.6% of En+ Group International PJSC, the parent company of Russian aluminum producer United Co Rusal International PJSC.

Sberbank is also seeking shares in a grain trading company formerly known as Viterra Rus and a mill in Rostov region that are a part of Rotterdam-headquartered Viterra.

 - Bloomberg

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