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Bucharest City Hall blocking ELCEN's insolvency rehabilitation, judicial administrator claims

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The Bucharest City Hall is blocking ELCEN's rehabilitation from insolvency and the electricity and heat producer could go bankrupt, while the loss of the cogeneration bonus could send the Bucharesters' energy bills soaring by a monthly 80 million RON, warns the company's judicial administrator Sierra Quadrant.

"Neither I nor my colleagues expected the biggest hindrances to the completion of the insolvency rehabilitation proceedings to come from Mayor Nicusor Dan, nor did we expect him to show such a lack of concern for the fate of the capital city's heating and hot water system. We have been working for years on ELCEN's turnaround, and we have succeeded in getting it back on its feet despite all the obstacles we encountered from the authorities right from the beginning. We were all waiting for the judge's decision confirming the exit from insolvency, after having paid absolutely all the debts and accepting claims from all creditors. And now we are faced with this challenge filed on the final lap through which the City Hall virtually destroys everything we have built together with the ELCEN team," Sierra Quadrant founding partner Ovidiu Neacsu said in a statement on Friday.

He adds that Bucharest General Mayor Nicusor Dan has "acted once again in a completely unprofessional manner" leaving the impression that "there is an imperative ill-intention to drive ELCEN into bankruptcy".

According to the judicial administrator, the Bucharest City Hall challenged in court Sierra Quadrant's report acknowledging the full payment of historical and current debts and which was supposed to result in a ruling for the termination of insolvency proceedings.

"The City Hall's action de facto cancels the exit from insolvency, which means that ELCEN will lose the cogeneration bonus of 80 million RON per month until the completion of the procedure and financial difficulties become a certainty again. Mayor Nicusor Dan's decision to block ELCEN's exit from insolvency is all the more so surprising as it comes shortly after the City Hall also blocked the implementation of the Centralized Heat Supply System (SACET) by refusing to complete the purchase of ELCEN, despite officially expressing its intention to buy. We also consider the reason underlying the challenge, specifically an alleged debt of ELCEN to PMB which was twice invalidated by the court to be particularly relevant," the cited source said.

Electrocentrale Bucharest (ELCEN) entered insolvency proceedings in 2016 based on a consistent reorganization program that focuses on streamlining the company's business with a view to improving its financial situation. The company reorganization plan was submitted in 2018.

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