Consulting company BEFL presented the list of the largest owners of agricultural land in Russia as of May 2019. The long-term leader of the list, Igor Khudokormov with the Prodimex and Agrokultura groups, lost the first place to the Miratorg agricultural holding, the brothers Viktor and Alexander Linnikov. According to BEFL estimates, Miratorg increased its land bank almost 1.5 times over the year and reached 1 million hectares (this is approximately equal to the area of the island of Cyprus); Khudokormov companies - 865,000 hectares (+ 9.5%). Vadim Moshkovich’s group Rusagro closes the top three with 650,000 hectares.
BEFL includes companies with more than 100,000 hectares of farmland under control — that is, on property rights, on lease, or on other legal grounds. Until now, no agricultural company has controlled 1 million hectares or more of agricultural land in Russia, according to BEFL.
Miratorg is Russia's largest pork producer (423,000 tonnes in live weight) and beef (108,000 tonnes), according to industry unions for 2018.
For the evaluation of the land bank, analysts used the open data of Miratorg itself, including official reports, interviews with top managers, etc., the BEFL spokesman said. Plus, the company itself clarified data on farmland in the regions.
“Miratorg” has never disclosed information about the land, says a person familiar with the management of the agricultural holding. The representative of Miratorg did not answer the questions of Vedomosti.
The growth may be due to the fact that acquired lands are formed gradually and the company begins to use them before they are registered as property or long-term lease, continues a person familiar with the management of Miratorg. In January 2018, Miratorg, according to his data, bought a 100% stake in Oryol-Agro-Product with a land bank, according to Agroinvestor magazine, about 50,000 hectares. After that, Miratorg announced that it had agreed to buy RAV Agro's Orlov assets — about 36,000 hectares. In the same 2018, Miratorg reported that it intends to increase arable land and pastures to 446,000 hectares, or 14%, due to the increase in the number of cattle in the Bryansk, Oryol, Kaluga, Tula and Smolensk regions.
Agricultural land area of about 1 million hectares is a huge territory even by world standards, says the director of the analytical center "Sovekon" Andrei Sizov. The world's largest landowners control substantially large areas of 4–5 million hectares, although most of these assets are pastures and they are mainly located in Australia, for example, the Macquarie Group or MacLachlan Family, the expert says. If we talk about lands for agricultural crops, then the largest Russian landowners can definitely count on joining the ten largest in the world, Sizov said.
The area of agricultural land in Russia practically does not change - according to the latest relevant data from the Federal Registration Service as of January 1, 2018, it was 383.2 million hectares, 51.6% (197.8 million hectares) of which are agricultural land.
The year 2018 was not marked by high-profile deals with large land areas, states BEFL. A significant increase in the area also occurred at the Ekoniva agricultural holding Stefan Dürr, who moved from the 13th to the 5th place in the list: his land bank reached 504,000 hectares, i.e., increased 1.5 times. 2019 may be richer in deals. In particular, the assets of the holding company “Solar Products” (agricultural land - 157,000 hectares) can be part of “Rusagro”; the French company Sucden plans to acquire a share in the Lipetsk group of companies Trio (land area exceeds 100,000 ha).