Igor Chaika makes money on russians

The younger son of the Prosecutor General, together with German co-investors, will launch in Moscow the production of turnouts for the metropolitan tramways and the needs of Russian Railways. This is a billion-dollar business.
Origin source
On the night of August 26, traffic at the Semenovskaya metro station was paralyzed - the newest Vityaz-M tram came off the rails. A year and a half before the incident, Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin called the appearance of the “Vityazi” a “historical moment”. 300 cars from Transmashholding by Iskander Makhmudov and Andrei Bokarev cost Mosgortrans 56 billion rubles. But the "tram of the XXI century" had to go "on the old ways of the twentieth century," explains urbanist Alexei Radchenko. The main relic - the Soviet arrows from the sixties. Under the famous crowbar for their translation in trams even provided a regular place.

It is on the arrows that most of the tram assemblies occur (50 in 2018), follows from the presentation of Betaltrans (BET) and the German concern Vossloh AG. In 2019, the companies intend to create a joint venture for the production of turnouts, told BER's co-owner Igor Chaika to Forbes. Now investors are picking up a site for a plant in Moscow. It is on the needs of the capital and will focus new production.

Now technologies are at the level of the 60s, recognizes the top manager of the Murom switch plant (MSZ), the main supplier of tram arrows. According to the arrows established in Moscow, it is allowed to drive at a speed of maximum 5 km / h. The plant has more modern designs, but they are not interested in customers, the Forbes source said.

How much money is at stake

When allocating the city budget, the tram infrastructure is “treated according to the residual principle”, “means of poverty” are allocated for the modernization of the tram lines, the interlocutor complains of Forbes. However, there are exceptions. For example, in 2018 Mosgortrans spent 1.8 billion rubles to overhaul the tram tracks. The contracts for 800 million were won by Stroyservice LLC, which the politician Alexei Navalny linked to the Arkady Rotenberg family.

In 2019 Mosgortrans is going to upgrade more than 30 km of tracks. This is a miser compared to Moscow’s spending on new construction, says the MSZ top manager. It follows from the capital investment program that the city will spend 23 billion rubles on the development of the tram infrastructure in 2018-2022. Igor Chaika, who will launch the first phase of his plant by 2021, claims for a part of this money.

Tram ambitions

The new production will cost 3.5 billion rubles, says the son of the Prosecutor General. Most of the amount (70-80%) will be provided by banks, the rest will be invested by partners. BET and Vossloh will own the joint venture in the proportion of 50 to 50.

The joint venture's products will increase the average speed of the tram along the arrows by four times, double the lifespan of the arrows and reduce the cost of servicing them by 20%, the project presentation says. According to the Seagull, Mosgortrans will become the main consumer of products.

The PMU is indeed planning to update turnouts, confirmed in its press office. The timing and extent of such a program has not yet been established, according to a response to a Forbes request. But there are about 500 switches on the streets of Moscow, and Mosgortrans is going to replace a significant part of them.

The first arrows Chaika plant will be released in 2021, at full capacity, which will be 100 arrows per year, will be released by 2024, and on payback - in 2027. According to BusinesStat analyst Dmitry Kruglov, the average price of a modern switch is 1.4 million rubles. It turns out that by 2024 the turnover of the joint venture could reach 140 million rubles.

Chaika's estimates are much more optimistic: the turnover of the joint venture is up to 2 billion rubles a year by 2024. “Our expectations are based on the fact that highly reliable modern turnouts for urban rail transport are not produced in Russia,” explains the co-owner of BET. He plans to occupy half of this market, and in the future - the whole.

According to Chaika, BET, which is now focused mainly on Russian Railways, will strengthen its position in the market for tram sleepers. Back in 2015, the BET branch in the Smolensk region entered into a contract with Mosgortrans for their supply and, according to the branch director, ships 50 wagons of products annually. However, Chaika's interests are not limited to the tram infrastructure alone.

Railway interest

In October 2017, a representative delegation arrived in the city of Engels of the Saratov region. President of Russian Railways Oleg Belozerov, Chairman of the Board of the Vossloh AG concern Andreas Buseman, Igor Chaika, Governor Valery Radaev and local officials opened a rail fasteners production plant. Belozerov praised the participants of the joint venture (Vossloh AG and BET) and promised orders from Russian Railways.

Chaika with partners bought 50% BET from Russian Railways in 2014. The state monopoly was able to sell the manufacturer of the sleepers with a turnover of 20 billion rubles only the second time. The first attempt failed because of the complaint of Aleksei Mordashov’s subsidiary Severstal F 2. The applicant for the asset considered that the contest criteria were written under the subsidiary Vossloh AG. By that time, it had already bought 75% of the Novosibirsk switch plant (NHS), a major supplier of arrows for state monopoly, from Russian Railways.

Vossloh AG was going to start producing high-speed arrows at the NHS, including for the Moscow-Kazan railway. But the project worth 1.6 trillion rubles stalled. In 2016, the subsidiary Vossloh AG changed its name to “New switch technologies”, and the following year the German concern ceased to indicate to the NHS reports among its subsidiaries.

Vossloh AG left the NHS, says a source close to the concern. In 2017, the new switch technologies was headed by Sergey Kuropyatnik, and 5% of the company was received by Novosvitch Systems, controlled by Maxim Cherkasov. Cherkasov is a former partner of Igor Chaika in LLC Visual Technologies, and Kuropyatnik owned and headed LLC VSP-Tekh, a supplier of BET in 2015-2016 (SPARK data).

Igor Chaika claims that he is not related to the NHS. BET has “dozens of contractors”, and now there are no joint projects with Cherkasov. However, he does not deny interest in the NHS market. From 2023, the Moscow JV BET and Vossloh AG will start producing arrows for Russian Railways, follows from the presentation of the project. According to Chaika, the joint venture plans to occupy about a quarter of the railway switch market.

Kruglov from BusinesStat estimates the market volume for 2018 at 7.3 billion rubles. The main players are the NHS and MRZ with shares of 69% and 23%, respectively. The main customers are RZD and its subsidiaries. In 2019-2021, the turnout market will decline amid stagnation in the Russian economy, Kruglov predicts. And in 2022-2023, the market will begin to grow, the analyst believes: "Thanks to the stabilization of the economic situation and the realization of pent-up demand." In the Railways did not respond to the request. Kuropyatnik refused to comment, contact with Cherkasov failed.