Gazprom got another pipe supplier

ZPP received the status of the monopoly's supplier and a new owner. 
As it became known to Kommersant, the Zagorsky Pipe Plant (ZPP), located near Moscow, will now be claiming the delivery of large-diameter pipes (LDP) to Gazprom on a par with the four largest pipes of the Russian Federation. Among co-owners of ZPP is a classmate of Vladimir Putin, partner of the law firm "Egorov, Puginsky, Afanasiev and Partners" Nikolai Egorov. Kommersant sources in the industry did not hear that the lawyer had helped Gazprom in tenders, but point out that Mr. Yegorov often advises clients of Sberbank: they include ZPP with a loan of 5 billion rubles. Analysts believe that the arrival of ZPP in a falling market of LDP will sharpen competition on it.

"Gazprom" officially confirmed the possibility of purchasing ZPP's products. Now the plant will become the fifth player in the LDP market, along with ChTPZ, TMK, OMK and Izhora Pipe Plant, a source in ZPP told Kommersant. Pipes of ZPP are included in the register of products approved for use at Gazprom facilities, as the monopoly confirmed. But unlike the four big pipes plants and the trading TIT of Ivan Shabalov, who now receive accreditation for five years, ZPP "as a new supplier" has so far received it for only two years and admission only to tenders for repair work, and not for the construction of new gas pipelines, told sources of Kommersant in the industry. "This practice has been operating in Gazprom since July 2016 for all newly constructed enterprises in the pipe industry," Denis Safin, general director and co-owner of ZPP, told Kommersant. (The share is not specified.)

Officially, large pipe manufacturers do not comment on the competition with ZPP, but Kommersant sources in the companies indicate that the supply of pipes for repairs is a significant part of the shipments. "In addition, for the supply of large and, especially, international gas pipelines, the monopoly needs certificates and technologies, which ZPP may not have," one of the interlocutors of Kommersant adds. The Pipe Industry Development Fund pointed out that the demand for LDP in Russia in 2016 decreased by 35%, to 2.14 million tonnes, primarily due to a reduction in demand for new pipeline projects.

ZPP with a capacity of 500 thousand tons of LDP per year was built in the Moscow suburbs near the Insulation Pipe Plant controlled by Denis Safin. The total amount of investments is 10 billion rubles, of which about 5 billion is a loan from Sberbank, the rest are "shareholders' own funds as of 2014". According to the Unified State Register of Legal Entities, the owner of ZPP is the British Pipe Trade Limited. It, according to the British registry, was established in January 2008 and has always belonged to Bella Mukhina, and on March 21, it was liquidated. There are no data on the new ownership structure of ZPP in the USRLE. Denis Safin, however, assured Kommersant that "Bella Mukhina was never a shareholder in ZPP" and "Pipe Trade was a shareholder of ZPP since its inception, but subsequently sold the shares." According to him, "the shareholders of the plant are reflected in the share register maintained by Sberbank, and only the bank is entitled to disclose these data." Sberbank itself refused to do this at the request of Kommersant.

Meanwhile, in an interview with the industry magazine "Metal supply and sales" in March, Denis Safin said that the co-owner of ZPP" at the end of 2016" was Vladimir Putin's classmate Nikolay Egorov, co-founder and partner of the law firm Egorov, Puginsky, Afanasiev & Partners (EPAM). "He helps us - advises on legal issues," explained Mr. Safin. Now ZPP doesn't comment on this topic. Nikolay Egorov and the Press Service of EPAM did not respond to Kommersant.

Friends of Nikolay Egorov and interlocutors of Kommersant in the industry say that the lawyer often "acts in partnership with Sberbank." According to them, Mr. Yegorov is well acquainted with the head of the bank Herman Gref and "helps clients of the bank who found themselves in difficult situations," in particular, with legal support. As an example, the interlocutors of Kommersant say about the the Antipinsky refinery owned by Dmitry Mazurov: according to the USRLE, since 2008, the lawyer owned 20% of the parent company of the oil refinery OOO Gaztransservis, and since January 2016 the similar package in the refinery at the Mine Project Corporation (Seychelles). Sberbank does not discuss relations with ZPP and Nikolay Egorov. But the bank, according to, restructured ZPP loans, postponing the main payments from 2017 to 2018. "The plant is working, supplies are on, there are no problems with the metal sheet, and even when loading 100 thousand tons of pipes per year, this money will be returned," Denis Safin told Kommersant.

The capacity of the four largest Russian pipe workers for LDP is about 3 million tons, they are under-loaded, and demand in Russia in 2017 may be even weaker than a year ago, Andrey Lobazov of Aton notes. In his opinion, the supply of ZPP "will strengthen competition on an already difficult market."