Andrey Patrushev brought Aurora to NOVATEK

A businessman structure buys a large contractor of a gas company.
As it became known to Kommersant, associated with the ex-deputy chairman of the board of Gazprom Neft Andrey Patrushev, Aurora intends to acquire a large drilling contractor NOVATEK, the company Investgeoservice. According to Kommersant's interlocutors, Mr. Patrushev, who has already bought a stake in the MAGE contractor, is going to create a major player in the Russian oilfield services industry. Experts estimate the cost of Investgeoservice at 13 billion rubles. taking into account the debt.

As sources told Kommersant, Aurora JSC filed a petition with the FAS to acquire 60% in the Investgeoservice drilling company (IGS). The service confirmed that the document is being approved. They plan to “assess the impact of the transaction on the oil and gas services market” and expect additional documents from Aurora. The company itself noted that it has not yet "purchased the shares of the IGS", refusing to comment on other issues. The GCI did not respond to Kommersant's request.

IGS is a fairly large drilling contractor; more than 80% of its revenue comes from NOVATEK's orders (in particular, for drilling wells for the Arctic LNG-2 project).
In 2020, the IFRS loss amounted to RUB 106 million. against a profit of 1.1 billion rubles. a year earlier, revenue fell 19% to RUB 18.6 billion. EBITDA was 3.3 billion rubles, and the ratio of net debt to it was 2.5.

The company owns 32 drilling rigs. As of March 31, the shareholders of the GCI were the Cypriot structures - the subsidiary IGS Drilling (40%, quasi-treasury stake) and IGS International (60%). According to reports for 2020, more than 25% of shares in IGS International were each owned by ex-adviser to the head of NOVATEK Stanislav Kotov and head of the board of directors of the IGS Damir Tuktarov, exercising joint control over the IGS.

Kommersant sources associate Aurora with Andrei Patrushev, the youngest son of Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev.

At the end of 2019, Mr. Patrushev Jr. left Gazprom Neft, where he was in charge of offshore projects as Deputy Chairman of the Management Board, to start his own business. According to the reporting data of "Aurora", since September 2020, Andrey Patrushev heads its board of directors. The general director of Aurora is Dmitry Lavrenenok, a former manager of Gazpromneft-Sakhalin, who left the company in February 2020.

According to the reporting of Aurora for 2020, it is owned on par by the Marine Arctic Geological Exploration Expedition JSC (MAGE) and Sevnor Technologies (according to the Unified State Register of Legal Entities, in equal shares owned by the shipping company Sevnor and Georgy Radionov), which is registered at the same address with Aurora ". MAGE is a large contractor in the field of offshore exploration, 37.7% of the shares are held by Andrey Patrushev, and the main shareholder is the son of the famous geophysicist Gennady Kazanin, Alexey.

After leaving Gazprom Neft, Andrei Patrushev also established and owns the ANO Center Arctic Initiatives (they did not respond to Kommersant's request). This ANO has a subsidiary called Aurora Logistics, and in April MAGE received 50% of it. Three sources of Kommersant in the oil industry claim that Andrey Patrushev has an idea to create a major player in the field of oilfield services.

Against the background of the transaction, Kommersant's interlocutors say, at the beginning of June, the leadership of the IGS changed: Andrei Korolev became the general director instead of Damir Tuktarov, who headed the board of directors (before that, he headed the Akros oil service company for seven years).

The GCI explained the change in personnel as "strategic strengthening", while by August the leadership was also changed in the key subsidiaries of the company.

GCI may be of great interest to investors who see prospects to expand their contract base through new projects due to improved market conditions, said Karen Dashyan of Advance Capital. However, in his opinion, an important factor, taking into account the level of debt (8.4 billion rubles), is the ability to negotiate with creditors, and it seems logical for a new investor to buy out the right of debt from them. The expert estimates the cost of the GCI at about 13 billion rubles, and "in the event of the redemption of the debt by a new investor, the current owners could earn a little."

The GCI's net debt to EBITDA ratio (adjusted for lease payments) has grown to about 4x in 2020, notes Dmitry Marinchenko of Fitch. For comparison, Eurasia Drilling Company, their larger competitor, had a leverage of 0.6x last year. But the company has a good and stable portfolio of orders, mainly from NOVATEK, notes Mr. Marinchenko, the dynamics of the portfolio in the future will mainly depend on the investment program of NOVATEK and its decisions on new projects.