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Court Launches Receivership at SCT

Ljubljana, 15 June (STA) - The Ljubljana District Court launched on Wednesday receivership proceedings at builder SCT, which withdrew its proposal for debt restructuring on Tuesday following months of efforts to stave off bankruptcy.

The receivership, which will leave the remaining 760 workers of the former construction giant jobless, will be managed by Benigar Tosic, who was appointed SCT's administrator last week.

SCT's debt stands at an estimated EUR 120m or even EUR 450m when taking into account all bank guarantees. The creditors that did not already register their claims during debt restructuring will have three months to file their claims.

SCT's end comes after the management told the creditors' committee on Monday that the company would not file a supplemented debt restructuring plan after it failed to find a strategic partner to provide the funds needed to pay out wages, some of which were reportedly due since last December.

This meant receivership for SCT, which in its heyday was a giant even by European standards and according to some estimates provided a livelihood for up to 100,000 people in the former Yugoslavia.

Tosic expects a protracted procedure, "given the size of the bankruptcy assets, the large number of creditors and conflicts".

The size of the bankruptcy estate is not known, although SCT estimated it at EUR 155m in its initial restructuring plan in January this year. The plan envisaged ordinary creditors to be repaid 24% of their claims.

A look at SCT's operating data for recent years show that the company's problems began in 2010.

In 2006 revenues for the core company stood at EUR 321m and profit at EUR 9,500, the figures for 2007 were EUR 470m and EUR 1.6m respectively, for 2008 EUR 534m and EUR 7.2m, and for 2009 EUR 402.9m and EUR 775,000.

According to data from the Agency for Public Legal Records and Related Services (AJPES), SCT saw EUR 235m in sales revenues in 2010 and generated a loss of EUR 91m.

The company employed 2,500 people in 2004, which gradually decreased to 2,200 in 2005, 1,700 in 2006, 1,500 in 2007, 1,400 in 2008, and 960 in 2009. The most recent data showed 760 workers at SCT.

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