Sifting of OKD creditors’ claims sets stage for key decisions about mining firm
The battle over the future of hard coal mining company OKD has just got a lot more complicated and bitter.
The most significant single move from that clean out of claims is the reject of around 10 billion from the bank Citibank.
Citibank was one of the leading members of the grouping of foreign investors known as the Ad Hoc Group, which had before the insolvency declaration had been the decisive force in New World Resources (NWR), the biggest single shareholder in OKD.
That influence resulted from the purchase of NWR bonds in the past and the transformation of some debt into bonds. But insolvency manager Louda questions whether the major creditor has in fact proved that these debts really stemmed from mining company OKD and the court has taken on his arguments.
Citibank can still go to court to get its claims recognized and can also launch an international arbitration against the Czech state, something which it has strongly hinted it is more than willing to do.
Other claims from creditors were also dismissed on Wednesday, for example a 1.8 billion crown claim from the Ministry of Industry and Trade for the likely liquidation costs of closing the deep mines if operations at OKD cease once and for all.
The latest court moves on Wednesday effectively deal out the cards ahead of a key meeting of creditors on Thursday at which the next steps for OKD should be decided. Basically OKD is faced with the fundamental choice of bankruptcy and the sell off of assets with no little regard whether mining operations continue there or a restructuring of the company. The Czech state has said clearly that it would prefer the latter option that would offer the prospect of keeping at least some mining operations going and salvaging some of the 12,000 jobs linked to the mining company. It will be closely following the outcome Thursday.