April 8, 2008 / 10:37 AM / 11 years ago

Ukraine court rules against magnate in share case

KIEV, April 8 (Reuters) - Ukraine’s Supreme Court struck down on Tuesday a restructuring plan of Dniproenergo DNEN.PFT, which would have given a larger stake of the power company to the country’s wealthiest magnate, Rinat Akhmetov.

The shareholders of the company, part of which is now slated for privatisation, decided last August to raise the company’s capital via a share issue, increasing Akhmetov’s stake and diluting the government’s to 50 percent from 76 percent.

The government of former Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich signed off on the deal. Akhmetov is a leading member of Yanukovich’s Regions party.

But the agreement was criticised by Yulia Tymoshenko, restored as prime minister last December, as a shady way of transferring a stake into private hands without an open tender. The government now plans to privatise 60 percent of the firm.

The ruling upholds a decision by a regional court taken in December days after Tymoshenko’s government began work.

Yanukovich then blasted the ruling as effectively “reprivatising” Dniproenergo. Tymoshenko spooked investors during her last tenure as premier in 2005 with her calls for a major review of previous sell-offs.

DTEK, a holding company controlled by Akhmetov, which received the new shares via a unit, criticised the court ruling, saying it did not keep to the letter of the law and favoured instead the interests of the magnate’s business rivals. (Reporting by Yuri Kulikov; writing by Sabina Zawadzki; Editing by Paul Bolding)

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