Helsinki Court of Appeal has rejected the complaints made by Pirkanmaan Osuuskauppa, ECR Finland Investment I Oy and LähiTapiola Keskustakiinteistöt Ky concerning Stockmann’s restructuring programme
STOCKMANN plc, Inside Information 4.11.2021 at 14:00 EET
A decision has been received by the Helsinki Court of Appeal in a lawsuit between Stockmann and Pirkanmaan Osuuskauppa regarding damages for the termination of the lease of business premises located in the department store in Tampere. In its court decision today, the Helsinki Court of Appeal rejected Pirkanmaan Osuuskauppa’s appeal and ruled that Pirkanmaan Osuuskauppa’s claim for possible damages, based on premature termination of subtenancy, is a restructuring debt under the Corporate Restructuring Act, which was also the position of Helsinki District Court’s and the supervisor, Attorney Jyrki Tähtinen.
The former subtenant of Stockmann’s department store in Tampere, Pirkanmaan Osuuskauppa, appealed regarding the decision of the Helsinki District Court on 9 February 2021 to certify the restructuring programme to the extent that the District Court viewed that the damages payable to Pirkanmaan Osuuskauppa are restructuring debt instead of debt that has arisen after the application for restructuring proceedings came into force pursuant to section 32 of the Restructuring Act, i.e. so-called mass debt.
In addition, Pirkanmaan Osuuskauppa has initiated arbitration proceedings against Stockmann, in which it claims up to EUR 5.9 million in compensation for termination of subtenancy. Stockmann has denied the claim. The arbitration proceedings are still under process. The decision of the Court of Appeal means that the damages that may be awarded in the arbitration proceedings are a restructuring debt and not the so-called mass debt.
In Stockmann’s restructuring proceedings, ECR Finland Investment I Oy announced a conditional claim of EUR 223 800, which is based on an agreement between the parties concerning certain measures and cost sharing. In the proposal for Stockmann’s restructuring programme, the receivable of ECR Finland Investment I Oy was taken into account as a conditional and maximum restructuring debt. According to ECR Finland Investment I Oy, the receivable should have been taken into account as so-called mass debt that has arisen after the application for restructuring proceedings, not as restructuring debt. In its decision of 9 February 2021 approving the restructuring programme, the Helsinki District Court stated that the basis for ECR Finland Investment I Oy’s claim had arisen before the restructuring application was initiated and was thus a restructuring debt. ECR Finland Investment I Oy appealed the decision of the District Court to the Court of Appeal.
In its decision, the Helsinki Court of Appeal has also rejected ECR Finland Investment I Oy’s appeal and held that ECR Finland Investment I Oy’s debt is a restructuring debt in accordance with the Corporate Restructuring Act, which was also the position of Helsinki District Court and the supervisor, Attorney Jyrki Tähtinen.
LähiTapiola Keskustakiinteistöt Ky demanded in the Court of Appeal that the decisions of the Helsinki District Court of 9 February 2021 and 19 March 2021 be amended so that the argument filed by Stockmann AS against LähiTapiola Keskustakiinteistöt Ky’s claim for compensation is dismissed or rejected because of lack of interest, misuse of justice and piercing the corporate veil. In its decision, the Helsinki Court of Appeal has also rejected LähiTapiola Keskustakiinteistöt Ky’s appeal in its entirety.
Jukka Naulapää, Chief Legal Officer, tel. +358 9 121 3850