November 27, 2019 / 4:15 PM / 15 days ago

Russian firm in Siemens turbine scandal moves to liquidate

MOSCOW (Reuters) - A Russian firm part-owned by Siemens (SIEGn.DE) that was hit by sanctions for its role in installing the German company’s turbines in Crimea has started liquidation proceedings, according to filings to a Russian companies database.

Interavtomatika notified authorities of its decision to cease operations on Tuesday, the filings in the Spark database showed. It gave no explanation for the move.

German conglomerate Siemens owns a 46% stake in Interavtomatika, which installs automated control systems in power plants and works with products manufactured by Siemens or those under its license.

In 2017 Russia installed turbines bought from Siemens at power stations in Crimea, which it annexed in 2014.

That led to legal proceedings and fresh sanctions against Russian officials and companies, including Interavtomatika, by the European Union and United States.

Siemens at the time said Russia had clandestinely delivered the turbines to Crimea and that it planned to sell its stake in Interavtomatika after the scandal. However, it has not yet done so.

Moscow denies this and claims to have modernized the existing turbines using Russian specialists and equipment.

The construction of power plants in Crimea, which began to operate at full capacity in March 2019, was carried out by Russian engineering company Technopromexport, part of the state-owned Rostec corporation.

In September, Rostec sold its 17.34% stake in Interavtomatika to then second-largest shareholder, the All-Russia Thermal Engineering Institute (VTI) for 67 million rubles ($1.05 million), taking the VTI’s share to 54% from 37%.

Siemens’ share in the company remained unchanged.

The German company declined to comment on the possible liquidation. Interavtomatika and the VTI did not respond to Reuters’ requests for comment.

Reporting by Gleb Stolyarov and Anastasia Lyrchikova; Writing by Alexander Marrow; Editing by Jan Harvey

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