Russia’s unpaid Milano Expo 2015 bills bring bankruptcy to company

Sech Costruzioni Metalliche  broke for €400,000 credit.

A Treviso company has been forced to lay off its workers and close the doors this week after waiting 16 months in vain for payment for work on the Russia pavilion at Expo Milano 2015, completed in time for the opening of the event.

After over 40 years of successful construction work in Italy and abroad, the Sech Costruzioni Metalliche in Treviso province was forced to file for bankruptcy when it was unable to pay its suppliers.

Sech was one of nine companies which last October turned to the Expo Commissioner General Pasquino for help when the Russian companies RVS Holding and RT-Expo, the prime contractors for the Russia pavilion, refused to pay their invoices totalling around a million Euros.

A flimsy protest by RVS over the quality of their work was rejected by a professional expert appointed by the Milan tribunal. One company told media that RVS had contested their work on the outside of the pavilion, but they had worked exclusively on the interior.

A diplomatic protest lodged by the Italian embassy in Moscow appears to have had no effect.

Since then, several of the creditors chose to throw in the towel and accept some 20 or 30 per cent of the payment due and cut short the wait. Among those who preferred to hold out and take RVS to court, Sech Costruzioni this week ran out of time and out of credit. Their hearing against RVS is scheduled for December, but their creditors could wait no longer.

Company owner Alessandro Cesca is bitter at what he describes as betrayal. “Nobody helped us,” he told reporters. “We found ourselves fighting against everyone and everything. Nobody in the political world gave us a hand. Imagine what we could do against a giant like Russia. Yes, there’ll be a sentence in a couple of months, but even if it’s in our favour, do you believe we’ll ever see our money?”

Sech Costruzioni had previously worked on Porta Susa railway station in Turin, provided the turnstiles for Milan’s San Siro stadium, and on a carpet museum in Azerbaijan, among other contracts. It had taken over the plant of appliance manufacturer Indesit when it failed, even taking on some of its workers.