Swissport International Ltd. has said that it is ready to discuss resolution of the dispute over the ownership of the Interavia ground services company (known as Swissport Ukraine when it was a subsidiary of Swissport International Ltd.) with Ukraine International Airlines (UIA). Swissport International Ltd. announced this in a statement.
"Swissport is open for an amicable solution and looking forward to discuss further steps with the airlines´ representatives," the company said in the statement.
The Swiss provider of ground and cargo handling services at airports expressed satisfaction with the October 2 decision of the Higher Economic Court of Ukraine that invalidated the legal grounds on which UIA gained control of Swissport Ukraine. The Higher Economic Court of Ukraine overturned the decisions of the Kiev Economic Court and the Kiev Economic Court of Appeal and returned the case to the court of first instance for reconsideration. "Swissport is expecting the new situation to lead to a reverse transfer of its ownership of 70.6% of the shares in the former Swissport Ukraine,” the company said in the statement.
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Swissport International said it was continuously backed in this court case by the Swiss and French embassies in Ukraine and that the case also reached the attention of the European Commission and its delegates. It added that their continuous support in addition to the expected on-going support of the State Commission for Combating Corporate Raiding was invaluable.
As reported, UIA has said that the decision of the Higher Economic Court of Ukraine may have been influenced by a visit to Ukraine by European Commissioner for Trade Karel De Gucht, who may have discussed this case with the Ukrainian authorities. According to the Ukrainian airline company, absence of a decision by the Higher Economic Court of Ukraine could have hindered the negotiation between Ukraine and the European Union on establishment of a Common Aviation Area. As reported, the Higher Economic Court of Ukraine repeatedly adjourned the case.
Swissport International acquired a 51% stake in the Interavia ground services company (which was later renamed as Swissport Ukraine) in 2006. The other shareholders of the company were UIA (29.4%) and ABH (19.6%). Swissport exercised its option to purchase ABN’s shares in the company in 2008, thus increasing its own stake to 70.6%.
UIA later accused its Swiss partner of attempting to dilute its stake in the company and went to court. Based on the court’s decision, UIA bought 70.4% of Swissport Ukraine from Swissport International in spring 2013. However, UIA’s former partners disagreed with these actions and continued litigation.