Arkady Korostelev, President of the FESCO Group, addressed Rosatom with a proposal to “start systemic interaction”. In the letter that the top manager sent to the head of the state corporation Alexei Likhachev last week (the document is at the disposal of RBC, its authenticity was confirmed by a source close to the group), the prospects of such a partnership are explained as follows:
FESCO already provides transportation of more than 30% of cargo (or more than 10 thousand tons) for nuclear power plants under construction abroad;
in "conditions of high market competition and geopolitical turbulence" Korostelev sees prospects in combining efforts of companies to develop the Northern Sea Transit Corridor (part of the program for the development of the Northern Sea Route (NSR), which is operated by the state corporation). As the top manager reminds, FESCO annually delivers more than 200 thousand tons of cargo to the Far North, Siberia and the Far East as part of the northern delivery. FESCO's capacities allow "to form Arctic logistics and facilitate the successful implementation" of the NSR development program, he is sure.
In the state corporation, according to a RBC source familiar with the details of the negotiations and an interlocutor in Rosatom, the project has been approved. The partnership, which is planned to be announced in the near future, provides, in particular:
early next year, Rosatom will become the management company for the Vladivostok Commercial Sea Port (VMTP), the main asset of FESCO;
the state corporation will take part in the investment program for the development of the port. The interlocutors of RBC do not disclose the amount of possible investments. But one of them recalls that last summer at a meeting of the international public council of the NSR, the general director of the logistics operator Rusatom, Rusatom Cargo, Alexander Neklyudov, said that the state corporation is ready to invest $ 274.5 million in one transport and logistics hub.
Representatives of Rosatom and FESCO confirmed the conclusion of the agreement, but declined to comment further.
What's going on at FESCO
A corporate conflict has been going on at FESCO for several months. One of the company's largest shareholders, Ziyavudin Magomedov (owns 32.5% of FESCO), who has been under arrest since March 2018, accuses his partners and management of “raider seizure of the group”. In early October 2020, it became known that a group of investors had consolidated 33.9% of FESCO, including having bought out a stake from GHP Group of Mark Garber. This group, in turn, stated that Magomedov withdrew more than $ 1 billion from the company.
In mid-September, FESCO itself filed a lawsuit with the London International Arbitration Court, demanding that "companies associated with Ziyavudin Magomedov" return the debt on loans that were issued to him to buy out the company in 2012. In addition, the new shareholders consider the appointment of Arkady Korostelev as the head of the company legitimate, but Magomedov claims that he was chosen "without any competition and discussion, which are provided for by corporate procedures."
In addition, workers of the Vladivostok port in early October went to rallies for several days in a row because of their disagreement with the resignation of the port's general director Zairbek Yusupov, a relative of Magomedov. On October 5, they threw helmets at Korostelev and the new head of the port, Roman Kukharuk, who had arrived to meet with the team.
Ziyavudin Magomedov's nephew, Shahav Gadzhiev (a former member of the FESCO board of directors), told RBC that he did not know about the agreement between FESCO and Rosatom on managing the VMTP.