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Cross Lander Buy of the ARO All-Road Vehicle Company Reversed

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06 Ian 2005 - 00:00

ECONOMICS - January 6th 2004
The all-road vehicle maker ARO-Campulung could turn today again into state property.
Last night, at midnight, was the dead-line for John Perez, the owner of Cross Lander buying the Romanian company, to pay the 3.6 million dollars for the shares he got as part of the privatization deal.


By CATALIN BUDESCU

BUSINESS. John Perez got 5.1 million dollars after selling the Tolls & Molds Works of the ARO Campulung all-road vehicles
AVAS, the Agency in charge with selling the state owned companies could take once again ARO-Campulung on its list of companies for sale, but its value had already been damaged by the unlawful sale of the Tools & Moulds Section which Perez performed for 5.1 million dollars.
"The probability for Cross Lander to make due its obligations is close to null," stated a source at AVAS. This will mean that the Romanian state will get back 68.7% of the company’s shares in its lawful possession and will put it on voluntary liquidation.
This means that the privatization contract with Cross Lander will be scraped and Cross Lander will be asked to pay damages worth 5% of its value. AVAS will also ask Cross Lander to give back the money it took from selling the Tools & Moulds Section of the company, and also pay damages for not making due its promise to launch a new all-road model to be made at ARO Campulung.

Last fall Perez made public statements that the work at ARO Campulung would soon be resumed. "I will give him time till January, to make due on his promises," said then Mircea Ursache, head of the AVAS. Perez was supposed to invest 3 million dollars in retooling the company, by 26 September. "That would be his last chance to prove that he is serious about his investment. If he will not comply with the contract provisions, the contract will be scraped and the company will enter the procedure of voluntary closure," said Ursache at the time. Indeed, Perez’s time was up on 5 January 2005, at midnight.
The scandals around the privatization of ARO broke right after the deal was signed, in October 2003. Nothing really changed at the company, except for the part that Perez sold part of it for 40 times the money he had committed to pay for the whole company, in spite of the fact that he was bound by the contract not to take that kind of action.
The Tools & Moulds Section was in charge with making the body of the car, and its sell means that ARO will not be able to make new cars in the near future.

The privatization deal meant the transfer of the 68.7% of ARO’s shares into Lopez’s property to be made for 27 million dollars, of which 11.4 million dollars were debts to be paid by the new owner. Cross Lander effectively transferred into state coffers only 130,000 dollars.

Translation: ANCA PADURARU
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