Igor Makarov wants to leave the New Stream group

Co-owner of the oil refining group New Stream is looking for buyers to its 50% stake.
The former owner of Itera, Igor Makarov, almost a year after buying a 50% stake in the New Stream refinery, Dmitry Mazurov wants to withdraw from it. The main reason - in the disagreements between partners, who "did not have a relationship." Igor Makarov did not take any significant part in the management of the New Stream, the planned investments in the group slowed down, and at the beginning of the year he got into the "Kremlin list" of the US, which further complicated the situation. Yes, and the prospect of refining on the background of the completion of the tax maneuver in the industry raises questions, experts say.

The owner of the Arety group (before the rebranding - Itera), Igor Makarov is looking for buyers at 50% in the New Stream group, told several sources of Kommersant in the industry. On the entry of Mr. Makarov in New Stream was announced in August 2017, the remaining share - the company's president Dmitry Mazurov. Two sources of Kommersant explain that Mr. Mazurov and Makarov did not have a relationship. As part of last year's deal, Messrs. Makarov and Mazurov agreed to jointly own and manage New Stream, but in fact "Arety" did not receive full-fledged levers of management. Dmitry Mazurov remained the president of the group, and Igor Makarov headed the board of directors of the oil company and was responsible for the strategy and the international direction.

According to a source from Kommersant in the industry, the deal to buy a stake in New Stream for Igor Makarov was cash-strapped, but the businessman pledged to invest in the development of the asset. However, this did not happen, now Mr. Makarov's plans have changed, the interlocutor of "Kommersant" said. Another source of Kommersant says that Igor Makarov's exit is dictated by the businessman's entry into the Kremlin's "list" of the United States. Although the very fact of being on the list does not imply the imposition of sanctions, it still hampers cooperation with foreign counterparts. In "Arety" and New Stream declined to comment.

The main asset of New Stream is the Antipinsky refinery with a capacity of 9 million tons. The group also includes the Mari oil refinery, the oil terminal Kommandit Service in the Murmansk region, and mining licenses in the Orenburg region. In addition, since 2017, New Stream owns and manages 25% of the Afip refinery. The group's revenue in 2016 was $ 3.1 billion, EDITDA was minus $ 69 million, net debt was $ 2.5 billion (later data was not disclosed). The main problem of New Stream is a big debt, and when Igor Makarov joined, the partners planned to optimize it. In addition, it was talked about the possible study of "new strategic acquisitions", but in the end they were not.

According to a Kommersant source in the oil industry, the sale of the asset was discussed with Andrei Zokin, the former first vice-president of Gazprombank (left in January 2017), but the decision has not yet been made, and it is not known how the deal will be structured. Mr. Zokin owns about 35% in the Sakhalin fishery company LLC "Tunaicha", the remaining shares in the company, according to SPARK, are in pledge with the ex-banker. After leaving Gazprombank, Andrei Zokin also retained his membership in the board of directors of VSMPO-Avisma as an independent director. Contact with him failed.

Prior to joining New Stream, Igor Makarov never owned an oil refining business, but he was an important player in the gas industry in the 2000s. In 2012, the businessman went to the union with Rosneft, selling 51% in Itera. Under the terms of the deal, Rosneft invested its gas assets in the JV and $ 173.4 million, but the partnership did not work out and the state company already swallowed Itera in 2013, paying about $ 3 billion. Now, Arete has several dozen subsidiaries and branches.

Completion of the tax maneuver raises a lot of questions regarding the return on investment in refining, says Alexander Kornilov of Aton, especially for independent refineries, which tend to have a rather low processing depth. Now at the Antipinsky refinery, only industrial production of high-octane gasoline with a capacity of 600 thousand tons per year is launched. Nevertheless, the plant will receive the right to receive a negative excise tax on oil, as well as an increased ratio to it due to a remote location, this may help the refinery to be successfully modernized.