"It hurt the feelings of our people," Foreign Minister Fumio Kisida said in August 2015, when Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev flew to Iturup, the largest island in the Kuril chain. Medvedev visited the youth forum on the island and inspected the newly built airport "Yasny" and one of the many fish processing plants. The head of government was accompanied by the temporary governor of the Sakhalin region, Oleg Kozhemyako, and the head of the Ministry for the Development of the Far East, Alexander Galushka. The high-ranking officials did not have enough of one person - senator from the Sakhalin region Alexander Verkhovsky, for whom the nickname of the "owner of the Kuriles" has long been fixed.
Arrived in the Kuriles in the mid-80's Leningrad Verkhovsky created on the islands, about which Russia has been arguing with Japan for many years, a multimillion-dollar business. Verkhovsky Holding "Gidrostroy" built the largest part of the infrastructure on Iturup: roads, hospitals, kindergartens - including the "Yasny" airport with the cost of almost 6 billion rubles. The main investor was the state, which since the mid-1990s has been funding development programs for the Kuriles. From 2016 to 2025 a new program is running at a cost of 80.9 billion rubles (federal and regional budgets are paid 61.1 billion rubles).
In parallel, Verkhovsky successfully developed the fish business (he was always an important part of the Kuril development programs). Today, the ex-senator (his powers in the Federation Council expired last year) is the largest fisherman in the Far East. The company Sakhalin Island, which is part of Gidrostroy, became the owner of 96.38% of the shares of the Transfiguration Base of the Trawl Fleet (PBTF), one of the largest commercial companies in Primorye. Terms of the deal were discussed at least since 2016, and the former owners of the PBTF were considered relatives of Sakhalin Governor Kozhemyako: his wife Irina Gerasimenko, sister Olga Kravchenko and son Nikita. They, according to SPARK, own shares in companies that are members of the Salmonica Group (Tymlat Fish Processing Plant, Marine Resources, Ozernovsky RKZ No. 55 and Rybholkam). It is not known whether these companies entered the perimeter of the deal with Gidrostroi. The Salmonica business is comparable to the PBT: According to Forbes estimates, the group's total revenue in 2016 was almost $ 150 million. The sales of PBTF for the same year were 103 million (calculations were based on SPARC data and the average dollar exchange rate for 2016).
Sources of Kommersant in the fishing industry estimate the value of PBTF at $ 430 million - almost four times the revenue. Why such a high price? As Forbes told the interlocutor in the fish market, the value of fishing companies is calculated based on the volume of quotas assigned to them for catching fish. Most expensive companies are when they only receive quotas. This year the ten-year quotas are ending and the process of concluding new fifteen-year contracts has already started.
What volume of quotas will get to "Gidrostroy", it will be known in the autumn, when Rosrybolovstvo plans to finish the campaign for their distribution. This year, the purchase of PBTF made Verkhovsky the largest fishery operator in the Far East, and the second - on a national scale. According to Forbes calculations, the volume of quotas for "Gidrostroy" (including PBTF) for 2017 exceeds 400,000 tons (mainly pollock). The leader of the market, the company "Norebo" Vitaly Orlov - 437 800 tons. The gap in revenue is higher - however, already in 2016, Gidrostroy was the second largest fish producer in Russia by this indicator. Then Forbes estimated the revenue of the holding companies at $ 334 million against 756 million from Norébo. More recent data on companies do not. The proceeds of PBTF for 2017 amounted to $ 111.5 million (all calculations - according to SPARK and the average dollar rate of the corresponding year).
Verkhovsky owns Hydrostroy not alone. This year he had influential partners. Businessmen and long-term associates of Roman Abramovich Yefim Malkin and Irina Panchenko now own 50% of the company "Poronai", which according to Forbes estimates, accounts for 20% of quotas and revenues of the fishing companies included in Gidrostroy. This year, the "owner of the Kuriles" for the first time entered the Forbes rating with a valuation of $ 500 million. Will it change after buying PBTF? To learn from representatives of Verkhovsky on own or borrowed funds, a seaside company was acquired (this information is needed to estimate the fair value of the business), at the time of writing the article failed.