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Editor in chief: Angelo Scorza
08/07/19 11:49

The Court decreed FT Genoa Tankers' bankruptcy

The appeal lodged by the Italian Revenue Agency, claiming an almost 13 million euro credit from Turkish Furtrans' subsidiary, was accepted

Genoa-based FT Genoa Tankers did not manage to complete its tax collection settlement procedure and to pay its outstanding debt by instalments. The company, dealing with technical and commercial management of tankers, is a subsidiary of the Turkish group Furtrans (controlling also the Genoa-based shipping company Petrolifera Tankers).

In fact, the Insolvency Court of Genoa accepted the appeal lodged by the Italian Revenue Agency last April and, having ascertained "the existence of the insolvency, despite the objections of the defendant", decreed the bankruptcy of FT Genoa Tankers.

According to its 2018 financial statements, the company is a 99% subsidiary of Anadolu (while the remaining 1% belongs to the manager Pietro Roveta, already at the helm of Petrolifera Tankers) which, in turn, belongs to the Turkish group Furtrans and deals with "maritime transport of oil and chemical products in the Mediterranean sea with ships obtained from other subsidiaries of the Furtrans group, both through bare-boat charter agreements and through time-charter agreements. In turn, the ships are chartered to leading oil companies, both through voyage charter agreements and through time charter agreements".

The problem is that FT Genoa Tankers piled up a debt of over 12.9 million euro with the Revenue Agency, besides the sentence passed by the Criminal Court of Genoa on February the 1st 2019 for serious tax criminal offences, decreeing a preventive seizure, followed by the confiscation of 8 million euro. However, the Office of the Public Prosecutor could not enforce said seizure because, as ascertained by the Italian Finance Police on last May the 23rd, the company does not have assets and, on top of that, "it is continues to fail to pay taxes due for the two-year period 2017-2019".

FT Genoa Tankers objected, arguing that its insolvency is due to different reasons: first of all, according to the company, its overall debt should be reduced by 2.5 million due to a miscalculation. Moreover, its debts up to 2016 are the object of a tax settlement appeal and, in part, of extraordinary instalments. Besides, several agreements with customers were renewed, resulting in a 2 million increase in revenues, and the parent company recapitalized FT Genoa Tankers with two transfers: 911,500 euro on April the 25th 2019, and 550,000 on May the 2nd 2019; and with the waiver of 7 million receivables.

However, the Court regarded all the above as insufficient to change the "structure" of the company's deficit and of the increase of its payables to subsidiaries.

As a matter of fact, the intervention of the parent company "does not annul the insolvency, rather it could only prevent the winding-up of the company due to loss of share capital", while its financial statements for the years 2016, 2017 and 2018 record losses ranging from 3.4 million and 4.8 million euro, and above all negative equity amounting to 4 million in 2014, 8.9 million in 2017 and 2.8 million in 2018. Moreover, while explaining the bankruptcy judgement, the Court pointed out that "FT Genoa Tankers was also the guarantor of the debt restructuring of another subsidiary of the Group, i.e. Petrolifera Tankers" and, as FT Genoa Tankers itself observed in its 2018 account management report, this "may result in additional financial charges".

Therefore, "the lack of taxable assets caused the attempts of the Revenue Agency and the Public Prosecutor Office to recover the 12 million and 8 million euro respectively to fail".

According to the Insolvency Court of Genoa, if the appeal related to the tax settlement and the payment of past debts by instalments was accepted, this would not result in "a structural change nor in a verifiable activity to relaunch operational activities or, at least, to restructure the insolvency".

For this reason, having ascertained said insolvency, the Court decreed the bankruptcy of FT Genoa Tankers and appointed Ugo Brunoni as receiver, setting the creditors' meeting on November the 13th 2019 to examine the company's liabilities.

Francesco Bottino

TAG : Tanker