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Uralkali confirms court date set for case against Force India

  • Published on 19 Jul 2019 08:46
  • comments 0
  • By: Fergal Walsh

The current ongoing legal dispute between Uralkali and Force India has had a court date set for late 2020, the Russian company has confirmed.

Uralkali, a potash fertilizer production company headed by Dmitry Mazepin, launched legal action against FRP Advisory (the administrators of Force India) after its bid to buy the Force India team in 2018 failed.

Force India dropped into administration prior to the Hungarian Grand Prix last year, but was rescued over the summer break by a consortium of investors led by Canadian businessman Lawrence Stroll.

Uralkali took issue with FRP Advisory after its bid for the racing team was ruled unfavourable, which led to the chemical company suing the administrators for "substantial damages arising from its prejudicial and unequal treatment".

Uralkali claims that its bid was the highest out of all interested parties, and believes that there were "misrepresentations and lack of transparency in the process run by the administrators". 

In a new statement, Uralkali states that it processed an offer of "between £101.5 million and £122 million, depending on the specific structure of other bids". 

This offer was made with the intent of securing the team's future and would include a "new investment program over a 5-year term to ensure the future success of Force India".

"During the course of the Bidding Process and discussions with the Administrator, Uralkali insisted on a transparent and fair process to ensure equal opportunities for each bidder," the statement noted. 

"In particular, Uralkali proposed that the Bidding Process be conducted by way of the submission in sealed envelopes of best and final bids to be opened in the presence of appointed representatives of the interested bidders. However, this proposal was rejected by the Administrators.

"Uralkali always emphasized its desire to bring transparency, proper corporate governance and financial stability to Force India. In this connection, Uralkali considers that the process conducted by the Administrator was not in the best interests of Force India’s stakeholders.

"Based on facts confirmed to us by the Administrators, the bid accepted by the Administrators was significantly inferior to Uralkali’s bid. Uralkali’s bid should therefore have been the winner.

"Despite Uralkali’s generous offer, which we believe was the best bid on the table, the Administrators chose to enter into an exclusivity arrangement with a lower bidder and subsequently refused to reengage with Uralkali or any other bidders.

"Due to Uralkali’s concerns as to the Bidding Process, Uralkali had no option but to launch these proceedings and seek substantial damages. Uralkali intends to continue vigorous pursuit of its claims against the Administrator in the High Court in London."

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