Court orders Apotheka to vacate premises at PERH, pay damages
Harju County Court has enforced its May ruling ordering an Apotheka pharmacy to immediately vacate the premises at North Estonia Medical Centre (PERH) and pay damages resulting from its unlawful occupation thereof. Pharmacy owner Terve Pere Apteek OÜ has 15 days to appeal the decision.
Harju County Court ruled on Monday that Terve Pere Apteek OÜ, which operates under the Apotheka brand, must immediately vacate the premises it has continued to occupy ont the first floor of the PERH complex in Tallinn's Mustamäe District and pay PERH €711,099 in damages for the period during which it has continued to occupy the space following the termination of its rental agreement, i.e. from Oct. 2, 2017 through May 13, 2019.
The company must also pay an additional €1,207.30 per day it continues to occupy the space, as well as another €1,207.30 per day in fees for every day since the lease expired on Oct. 2, 2017.
The court rejected an appeal by Terve Pere Apteek OÜ for a stay on the immediate enforcement of the order. Apotheka's parent company had likewise appealed for the court to leave the petition unreviewed, which the court also rejected.
Terve Pere Apteek has up to 15 days since the court order was served to appeal the ruling to Tallinn Circuit Court.
It appears from the Harju County Court ruling that, according to PERH, Terve Pere Apteek has been deliberately stalling with the aim of declaring bankruptcy before the final verdict in the civil case enters into force. Namely, the pharmacy operator's annual reports indicate that despite significant revenue, Terve Pere Apteek has been operating at a significant loss, hinting at the company's insolvency. As a result, the hospital is convinced that Terve Pere Apteek will soon cease operations.
Among other things, it appears as though the sole owner of Terve Pere Apteek, AS Magnum, has not made any additional voluntary contributions to the company's equity in the year 2017, despite the fact that the ratio of the company's net assets and share capital no longer complies with the requirements of the Commercial Code. Terve Pere Apteek likewise has not mortgaged property owned by Axis UPI for the revocation of attachments on the basis of prior rulings by the county court, and according to PERH, this fits into the company's plans of bankruptcy as, in the event thereof, the attachments would end, but the mortgage to be set would not.
In order to secure the action, on May 13, the court seized Terve Pere Apteek's bank accounts in the amount of €707,477.
Years of delays
Benu Apteek Eesti OÜ was declared winner of a procurement held in summer 2017 for the operation of a pharmacy at PERH. It has yet to be able to begin operating at the regional hospital, however, as Terve Pere Apteek OÜ, operating under the Apotheka brand, has refused to vacate the premises following the conclusion of its lease that autumn.
Terve Pere Apteek OÜ board member Kadri Ulla told ERR that the company has already appealed the decision and is awaiting a ruling.
"While we respect the court ruling, we remain convinced that verbal agreements are likewise agreements," Ulla explained. "Accordingly, we hope that the second-tier court will rule differently than the first-tier court."
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Editor: Aili Vahtla