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Mar. 22, 2005
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Vladivostok Avia GD Loses Transparency
Holder of 14.45 percent in Vladivostok Avia, Alliance Group announced Monday it intends to replace Vladimir Saibel, general director of the airlines from 1994. The holders will decide on the early termination of the GDs authority and election of a new head of the company at their extraordinary general meeting (EGM) slated for April 20. At Alliance, they link forthcoming upheaval to the opaque business of todays managers of the airlines. Vladivostok Avia representatives say the minors will fail to replace Saibel if not backed up by the government.
According to Rosaviation, Vladivostok Avia is Russias No. 11 in passenger traffic (576,500 passengers in 2004). 2003 revenues stood at $79.5 million, net profit exceeded $5 million. The company has 14 helicopters and 22 planes in the fleet, including ten Tu-154Ms. State-run stake equals 51 percent; individuals hold 24.67 percent. 14.45 percent of stocks are kept in the nominal holding by Financial & Industrial Bank, owned by Moscow Argonavty VLB and Fergan 2000. Alliance Group has been managing this stake since 2004 and intends to buy it out this year. The stake value stands at $5 million.

The companys EGM has been initiated by Argonavty VLB and Fergan 2000. The order of business sets forth only two issues early termination of the GD authority, election of a new general director for Vladivostok Avia.

In our opinion, the business carried out by the management is non-transparent. However, all questions posed by the holders to the management have not been answered yet, Sergey Vakunov, head of Alliance press service, spelled out to Kommersant. A source close to Alliance said on condition of anonymity Vostok Avias management has initiated withdrawal of the companys assets, and by this move, triggered concern of the minors. The thing is the company owns Knevichy airport, Vladivostok. Alliance that is also engaged in petroleum production and sale, has amassed certain experience in airport business. In the middle of February, Alliance and Khabarovsk Regions authorities established Khabarovsk Airport Co. (Alliance holds 75 percent less a stock), with 225 million in assets previously taken on lease by the state-run Dalavia contributed to the stock capital of the company. The assets also include fuel-supply facilities, loading and passenger terminals,

According to data available to Kommersant, the minors have put forward Alexander Bychkov, head of Primorie Airlines Agency, as Saibels substitute. Vakunov was unable to confirm this information, Alliance declined to comment. Everything depends, first, from support of the majority holder, and second, to what extend the arguments of minors appear convincing, Vakunov pointed out.

I dont think, the extraordinary meeting will result in appearance of a new general director, said Alexander Alekseev, an aid to Saibel. The logic of the companys development proves Vladimir Saibel is an undisputable leader. All companys success has been associated with him. Besides, Saibel keeps in with Primorie Regions Governor Sergey Darkin. The local authorities have majority in the BOD of the airlines.

www.kommersant.com

All the Article in Russian as of Mar. 22, 2005

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