– Six weeks ago, by chance, an employee sent me a text message with information that our company is on the sanctions list. It was a total shocker, especially since we were sitting on our investment plans – Newseria Biznes says Piotr PawińskiPresident of Maga Foods. – At the moment our company is in a state of accelerated decay, nothing is working, we cannot start any activity.
Maga Foods was mistakenly included in the sanctions list
The company from Dawidy near Warsaw is a large producer of iron ore. Annually buys about 8-9 thousand. Tons of cabbage, 3-4 thousand. Tons of carrots and other vegetables, about 90 percent of them. From Polish farmers and processing companies, then processed into iron ore and sold to retail chains such as Biedronka, Lidl, Auchan or Carrefour. It has been operating in the Polish market since 1992, which means that this is where it should celebrate its 30th anniversary. Instead, it is at risk of bankruptcy. April 25 this year. The company was included in the sanctions list prepared by it Ministry of Interior and Administration. This means a virtual ban on all activities. All of its assets and resources have been frozen, and no other entity may, directly or indirectly, make any financial or economic resources available to it.
Maga Foods was included in the sanctions list for no reason whatsoever, without any of the premises mentioned in the Penal Code. We must be removed from it. If it happens quickly, we can still go up and keep producing. But every week it makes it more difficult. In a moment, even after removal from the sanctions list, we will only be able to file for bankruptcy
– says Piotr Pawiński.
in the list Punishment The Ministry of the Interior and Administration included 50 Russian oligarchs and Polish companies associated with them. One of them is Michael Friedman, founder of Alpha Private Bank And one of the richest Russians, with an estimated assets of about 13 billion dollars. Maga Foods has been identified as an entity that it indirectly controls. Only this – as its representatives prove – is not true, because the company belongs entirely to the Dutch Signature Foods group, the sole and exclusive beneficiary of the Dutch company Eric Brass.
More information from the country On the home page Gazeta.pl
– The Register of National Courts and the Central Register of Real Beneficiaries, that is, the second most important source of information on the corporate ownership structure, shows, right from the beginning of April, that we are not associated with any Russian capital or any person from Russia – confirms the president of Maga Foods.
Maga Foods’ relations with Russia were severed after the outbreak of the war
As he explains, the situation was different at the beginning of this year. Part of the shares of the Dutch Signature Foods group belong to the Pamplona investment fund. This belongs to the first letter, an investment group, 26 percent of which. It was owned by the Russian oligarch Mikhail Fridman. However, immediately after the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, Erik Bras and a group of key employees made efforts to remove the Pamplona Fund from the contribution structure, precisely because Friedman was present in his share structure.
We were able to complete the purchase of all shares under End Walk. The relevant documents were immediately submitted to KRS and CRBR. As a result, as of the beginning of April, Erik Bras is listed there as the sole owner and beneficiary of Maga Food. The Dutchman even received special recognition from the local Ministry of Finance for the successful and effective severance of all capitalist relations with it Russia Thus saving the company from bankruptcy. Unfortunately, this was not possible in Poland.
– We are not related to any Russian capital and our services you know very well. However, we can guess that the point is simply that it is difficult to admit error – says Piotr Pawiński.
The Home Office and Administration are deaf to Maga Foods’ appeals, despite the Dutch government’s support
He stressed that the company made all attempts to clarify the situation with the Ministry of Interior and the Administration. On April 27 this year. Send all necessary documents, sworn translations of notarial documents, and request urgent removal from the list of sanctioned companies. However, the situation remains at a stalemate. The press office of the ministry only explained that “the procedures for removing the aforementioned person are currently pending.” comp from the sanctions list.
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– Only four weeks after the start of the procedure and the introduction of sanctions, the Department of the Interior and the Administration asked us for transaction documents – says the president of Maga Foods. – So that there were no doubts, the Embassy of the Netherlands provided these documents itself, in addition, the Dutch government – which is unusual – issued a written certificate of the purity and transparency of the entire transaction and the absence of any contacts with the Russian capital. We have provided all the records, documents and lists – Polish and Dutch – to prove it. It would take an average skilled person to review these documents in half a day, not several weeks.
The company, which operates in the agro-food industry, has also requested assistance from the Polish Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
We know the prospects are small. Mr. Minister Henry Kowalczyk said that, in principle, he could only appeal to the Home Office and Administration to quickly settle the matter. The information provided to us shows that the case is stuck at level ABW, so something is being analyzed. We are able to go to the Internal Security Agency at any time and explain to them everything that is incomprehensible – emphasizes Peter Pawinsky.
Maga Foods on the verge of bankruptcy
So far, the effect of the complex actions is that Maga Foods is in a state of decay. Suppliers suspended contracts and halted deliveries, and most buyers canceled orders and took the company’s products off the shelves. The company terminated lease contracts for premises, logistics and warehousing, and information technology services, and due to termination of lease contracts with immediate effect, the company also lost part of its equipment.
At the time of imposition of the penalty, its warehouses contained approx. 300 A thousand pieces of finished products with a total weight of about 150 tons were completely disposed of, resulting in financial losses. Most of the raw materials also deteriorated and rotted – more than 200 tons of cabbage, carrots, beets, onions and other vegetables. At the moment, they lie in warehouses on factory premises, which poses a biohazard, because the company – due to a wide range of penalties – can not even find a company that is interested in removing and disposing of them.
– We initially calculated that so far we have thrown a total of 500 thousand. A kilogram of vegetables or vegetable products, which would likely make up a daily ration for 1-1.5 million people — says the Maga Foods chief — sanctions are an atomic choice that means the company will essentially go into oblivion overnight. This means that at the moment we cannot obtain any advantages for the company. Our accounts are blocked, so we cannot pay our employees for the work they do or our suppliers for the products delivered.
The employees were left without money, half of them were Ukrainians
This means that the company’s employees are left without a source of livelihood. This is a total of 197 people, of whom 96 are from Ukraine.
– Taking into account their families and suppliers, we are talking about a group of about 2,000. People who are related to us in some way. This situation affects them, too – says Piotr Pawiński.
– It is a tragedy for us, because when the war began in Ukraine, many of our employees came here for their families, women, children and rented apartments. When the sanctions were imposed on Maga Foods, they were simply out of work, says Nazari Ostavinchuk of the temporary employment agency SPS, which has been an intermediary in the recruitment of workers by an iron ore producing company near Warsaw for many years.
As he points out, some of the company’s employees had to look for jobs and livelihoods elsewhere, so they quit their jobs. If the company resumes operations, more will have to be hired to replace them, but it will take months to train them.
It will take about a year to bring the company to the state it was in before the sanctions were imposed. It’s hard to pin down costs, but at least for a year the company will be in a lame state — says Marius Waselowski, production manager at Maga Foods.
The crisis at Maga Foods is also affecting Polish farmers
More importantly, all the company’s suppliers are also suffering – mostly Polish farmers and neighboring farms, who have not received their payments for weeks. The farm from Goślubia, which specializes in growing cabbage, estimates its current losses within six weeks at about 500 thousand. zloty.
– Maga Foods was our main recipient, we have been cooperating for about 10 years and there were no problems, they always paid and received the goods on time. Right now we have a problem, the goods in the fields are piling up. We already have nearly 150 tons of cargo unsuitable for harvest. The costs are very high, and the fertilizer prices, you know, are global, so it is possible that the farm has declared bankruptcy. We’re in place – says Robert Mardoville of Goślub Farm 11.
Maga Foods employees sent another petition to the Department of the Interior and Administration to expedite the procedures and remove the company from the sanctions list. The appeals have so far remained unanswered.
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