Igor Chaika, the youngest son of the Russian prosecutor general, sold a 100% stake in Agro-Region in November, a businessman told Vedomosti. The buyer is Sergey Rukin GC Rost, he specified and confirmed Rukin.
This company was created several years ago for a project to grow champignons in the Zaraysky district of the Moscow Region. Partnership with the Rost Group was originally planned, says Chaika. He explains his decision to leave the project by being involved in many other businesses, which also require investments. Among them are the major operator of the Charter garbage market (control by Chaika), the supplier of products to China, Russian Export (41%), Archplay Development (45%), 100% of the National Engineering Corporation, according to SPARK.
Seagull will retain the option to acquire 49% of the “Agro-region” during the year, say Seagull and Rukin. Such options are rarely used, such a move makes sense when the investor is really interested in the project and is ready to return, says BCS analyst Dmitry Skryabin.
According to Rukin, even before the deal, Agro-Region developed a project for future production, land plots with an area of about 50 hectares were leased out with subsequent purchase.
“Growth” (formerly called “Greenhouse Growth Technologies”) is a major producer of greenhouse vegetables (its brands are Dolce Vita, “Honey Tomatoes”, “Growth”, “Lukhovitsky Vegetables”). The group owns four operating and two greenhouse complexes under construction; their total area is 145 hectares. They are located in the suburbs, Tyumen, Bryansk, Rostov, Nizhny Novgorod and Tambov regions. They produce over 80,000 tons of vegetables, indicated on the company's website.
Rost plans to complete the project by constructing a complex for the production of over 12,000 tons of champignons and a compost plant. This is a rather large project, estimates the partner of NEO Center Vladimir Shaforostov. It will be commissioned in 2021, investments will amount to more than 4 billion rubles, adds Rukin.
For Rost, the launch of champignon production is a logical development of the line (now it has cucumbers and tomatoes. - Vedomosti), which will strengthen the position of the company's brands, says Rukin. Mushrooms are planned to be sold fresh and frozen, these are, according to him, consumer preferences.
Champignon production has recently attracted many businessmen. It began to develop several years ago, when 60% of mushrooms were imported from Poland, says Alexey Kurbanaev, CEO of Agrogrib. The increase in production spurred the food embargo introduced in 2014, which also included mushrooms, he adds. As a result, many mushroom projects appeared, they began to occupy the vacant niche. In particular, Agrogrib launched production in 2018, its capacity is 10,000 tons per year.
All these years, investors have been attracted by a large share of imports, says Shaforostov. But every year in Russia there are more and more of its mushrooms: if in 2017 own production accounted for about 34%, in 2018 - already 50%. Mushrooms are imported mainly from Belarus. At the same time, the popularity of mushrooms is also growing: in 2018, the market capacity increased 1.5 times to 75,000 tons compared to 2017, says Shaforostov. Projects announced in recent years can completely replace imports, he said.