The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is enforcing rights under its financing and security documents with regards to Danube Logistics Holding BV’s shareholding in Danube Logistics SRL (Danube Logistics), the operator of Giurgiulesti International Free Port in the Republic of Moldova.
The EBRD’s enforcement action, which commenced on 18 March 2021, aims to ensure the uninterrupted operations and ongoing expansion of Giurgiulesti International Free Port and to safeguard the EBRD’s financial interests in the project.
The EBRD is seeking to prevent any attempt at redirecting funds out of Danube Logistics as a result of the external administration imposed on the company, due to concerns that it will put the company in severe financial difficulties.
The action is in response to the decision by a Moldovan bailiff on 25 February to appoint an external administrator of the assets of Danube Logistics, following a disputed claim against one of Danube Logistics Holding BV’s ultimate beneficiaries.
The EBRD considers this appointment an interference with the running of the company, having a direct negative impact on its ability to continue to operate and repay its debts, as well as conflicting with EBRD’s legitimate interests as a lender holding security over the shares in Danube Logistics and as an economic beneficiary of those shares.
The EBRD has supported Danube Logistics’ development of Giurgiulesti International Free Port since 2005. As of today, the EBRD is Danube Logistics’ largest creditor as well as the main beneficiary of Danube Logistics Holding BV’s shareholding in Danube Logistics.
Giurgiulesti International Free Port is the Republic of Moldova’s only sea-river port located on the river Danube. On average, the port facilitates the international trade of Moldovan companies with more than 50 countries every year.
— 934 thousand tons of transshipped goods via GIFP in 2020, despite restricted exports of cereals in the second half of 2020 due to severe drought and the Coronavirus pandemic
— Bustling activities at GIFP with almost completed, underway and upcoming new construction projects
— Fair access of investors to the rules of law in the Republic of Moldova hampered by the ongoing attempt to expropriate Danube Logistics Holding BV’s and the EBRD‘s interests in Danube Logistics SRL via the Moldovan justice system
The operations and construction projects at Giurgiulești International Free Port (GIFP) were the key topics discussed during the visit of His Excellency Mr. Roelof van Ees, the Ambassador of the Netherlands to Romania and the Republic of Moldova, and Mr. Floris van Eijk, Head of the Dutch Embassy Office in the Republic of Moldova, at GIFP on Wednesday, February 24. Mathias von Tucher, the General Director of Danube Logistics SRL, outlined that GIFP continues to support Moldova’s international trade despite the challenges caused by the pandemic and, in particular, the 50% reduction of grain exports (i.e. -250 thousand tonnes compared to 2019) due to the bad harvest. GIFP still recorded a transshipment volume of 934 thousand tons in 2020, proving the importance of the unobstructed shipment of goods by maritime and river vessels for Moldovan importers and exporters.
Mr. von Tucher stated that the development of GIFP is in full swing with new facilities in construction: the ethanol and wine storage facilities are almost finalized, and the works at a state-of-the-art crushing plant for production of vegetable oil are progressing fast. In addition, two further resident companies envisage to start the construction of grain storage facilities.
The General Director of Danube Logistics SRL also discussed with the Dutch Ambassador the ongoing attempt to expropriate Danube Logistics Holding BV’s and the EBRD‘s interests in Danube Logistics SRL via the Moldovan justice system. H.E. Mr. Roelof van Ees expressed his concern about the current legal proceedings and recent court decisions: “It is crucial for the Republic of Moldova to uphold the rule of law and protect the legitimate interests of foreign investors in the country. Otherwise, Moldova will miss out on much-needed foreign direct investment and economic growth.”
Danube Logistics SRL, the operator and general investor of Giurgiulesti International Free Port, is wholly owned by the Dutch company Danube Logistics Holding B.V. According to a participation agreement the EBRD is entitled as of today to 65% of the dividend and share sales proceeds related to Danube Logistics Holding BV’s shareholding in Danube Logistics SRL.
The equipment shipped by the Belgian logistics specialist Projects & Industrial Logistics BVBA from the port of Straubing (Germany) reached its destination at Giurgiulesti International Free Port (GIFP) yesterday, on February 21st, after a 10-day journey down the Danube river.
It took 3 hours to our experienced cargo terminal operators at GIFP to complete successfully the unloading of 8 heavy pieces of up to 42 tons using our mobile heavy cargo crane. The oversized pieces with a width of up to 7 m were loaded on special heavy cargo trucks to be further delivered to Südzucker Moldova. Given the extra width of these loaded units, a separate temporary exit has been constructed so as to accommodate the transportation process.
Danube Logistics is an Associated Strategic Partner within the DIONYSUS project, a project co-funded by European Union funds under the Danube Transnational Programme with the objective of “Integrating Danube Region into Smart & Sustainable Multi-modal & Intermodal Transport Chains”. Danube Logistics is in close collaboration with the Technical University of the Rep. of Moldova (UTM), a European Neighbourhood Instrument Project Partner and as such leading the Moldovan aspects of the DIONYSUS project.
On 13 November 2020 a delegation from UTM headed by Associate Professor Dr Victor Ceban, Head of the Department of Transport, visited Giurgiulesti International Free Port. Mathias von Tucher, General Director of Danube Logistics, presented the port facilities and its multi-modal logistic and intermodal connections. Potentials and barriers for future developments were discussed taking into account bottlenecks of hinterland connections. Danube Logistics is looking forward to collaborate with the experts of the UTM on the DIONYSUS project.