Kazakhstan asked Russia to sell 50% of the Kazakhstan transport operator Kedentransservice JSC. This share belongs to the structure of Russian Railways - the largest container transport operator in Russia, PJSC TransContainer. The transaction value is estimated at 70 million rubles.
It was as if Prime Minister of Kazakhstan Askar Mamin had asked for the sale of 50% of Kedentransservice to Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. As a buyer, they proposed a co-owner of Kedentransservice - Kazakhstan Temir Zholy (KTZ, Kazakhstan railways).
Such a sudden interest of the Kazakh side in the sale of TransContainer's share, and even with such pressure (personal request of the prime minister) - is not just. Why are our partners in the Customs Union bustling about?
The fact is that on November 27 a sale of a controlling stake of 50% plus two shares of Russian Railways in TransContainer itself will take place. Starting price - 36.1 billion rubles. There are already two main contenders for this fat asset of the largest container operator in the Russian Federation.
The first of them is the owner of the Delo group, former State Duma deputy Sergei Shishkarev. This group of companies is owned by Deloports, dealing with grain and container terminals. And the second buyer is the notorious company Yenisei Capital, affiliated with Roman Abramovich and Alexander Abramov.
They already own through Yenisei Capital a 24.7% stake in TransContainer. And in November they can gain control over 74% of the Company. For some reason, the Kazakhs strongly do not want Abramovich’s assets with Kazakhstani registration to grow and strengthen. This seems to be a deeply personal reason.
Destroyer of hope
At one time, the oligarch Roman Abramovich had a serious conflict with the long-term leader of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, now a very wealthy and influential pensioner. In that conflict, there were broken hopes, resentment, and, as it turned out, a lot of money.
In 2011, Nursultan Nazarbayev tried to attach his grandson Aisultan to the youth team of London's Chelsea, which Abramovich has owned since 2003. As if Nazarbayev was trying to persuade Abramovich through advisers to Vladimir Putin. However, the oligarch still refused.
According to Aysultan’s father, Rakhat Aliyev, then Abramovich said: “I'm sorry, tell President Nazarbayev that I can’t influence the breeding processes of the club, I’m the conductor of the orchestra, and I am in charge of the orchestra that contains the best football players in the world.” His words are quoted by Gazeta.ru.
It seems that since then, the Nazarbayev family has got a serious resentment against Abramovich. Did he ruin Aisultan's dreams of a grandiose football career? Since then, he never managed to break into the first roster of any serious European club.
And it seems that not less than Aisultan and his grandfather, his mother Dariga Nazarbayev was offended. Now she is the head of the Senate of Kazakhstan and the most likely successor to the presidency, whose elections will be held in 2020.
Experts note that now Dariga Nazarbayeva has successfully closed all the necessary powers on herself to continue her father’s business. But she does not forget the old grievances inflicted on her family. They say she is doing everything to squeeze Abramovich and all his business from Kazakhstan in revenge for her son.
Controlling the share of Kedentransservice JSC through the purchase by Abramovich of the TransContainer package against this background is extremely undesirable. And even if the Kazakhs fail to timely buy 50% of Kedentransservice from the Russian authorities, they will do everything so that 50% of TransContainer does not go to Abramovich.
Bid is done
The Kazakhstani authorities are clearly “putting” Sergei Shishkarev on the Delo Group of Companies. Although Shishkarev himself is an entirely ambiguous entrepreneur. It was previously believed that he wanted to capture the entire grain market of Russia and Kazakhstan. But the dislike of Abramovich and the desire to stop his opportunities in the country, apparently, outweigh.
The request to sell the share of Kedentransservice JSC to the Kazakhs is a clear signal to the Nazarbayev family to the Russian leadership. The signal that the Kazakhs are interested in receiving the asset is precisely Shishkaryov, and not Abramovich.
Meanwhile, the struggle for a controlling stake in TransContainer is taking place seriously. Both GK Delo Shishkareva and Yenisei Capital Abramovich have already received the approval of the Federal Antimonopoly Service of the Russian Federation to conduct a transaction if they win the auction.
Abramovich will surely go to the end. Indeed, over the past four years, TransContainer's market quotes have almost quadrupled. Today, with a starting price of 36.1 billion, the market value of the package at Mosbirz is estimated at 60 billion rubles.
At the same time, the net profit of TransContainer Group according to international financial reporting standards (IFRS) for 2018 increased by 45.5% and amounted to 9.5 billion rubles. There is something to bargain for.
The situation with Kedentransservice is not the only one that worries the Kazakh authorities in connection with Abramovich’s business expansion. He continues to operate with Kazakh assets, place production there and tie Kazakh businessmen to his interests.
Last year, Abramovich sold the Baimskoye copper deposit in Chukotka to the KAZ Minerals group. Its main shareholders who became partners of the oligarch are businessmen from the lists of the richest people in Kazakhstan, Vladimir Kim and Oleg Novachuk.
However, the license to develop the field is owned by GDK Baimskaya LLC, a 100% subsidiary of the seller, Aristus Holdings Limited, whose ultimate beneficiaries should be Roman Abramovich and Alexander Abramov. Thus, Abramovich, sharing risks with the Kazakhs, left full control over its development.
As if Nursultan Nazarbayev was extremely unhappy that Abramovich and Kim became partners. The matter may be in the tensions between Nazarbayev and Kazakh billionaire No. 1 Vladimir Kim.
It is as if Vladimir Kim is in family ties with Tair Mansurov, the former akim of the North Kazakhstan region and the ex-general secretary of the Eurasian Economic Community, and with him a lot of money was made from the natural resources of Kazakhstan. People familiar with the situation said that Nazarbayev himself provided them with protection.
Rumors of nepotism and the role of Nazarbayev quickly spread in society. And then audio recordings of the alleged telephone conversations of Nazarbayev with Kim leaked into the network. There, the latter reported that his company Kazakhmys (the predecessor of KAZ Minerals) was giving the head of the country a plane. What merit?
They say that Nazarbayev was extremely annoyed by the leak and blamed Kim on it. They gossip as if after that the relationship between them became tense. Perhaps Nazarbayev believes that Abramovich sold the deposit to Kim on purpose to annoy him.
Even before that, in 2014, Abramovich launched in Kazakhstan’s Kostanay, the country's landmark steel plant, Evraz Caspian Steel (CEN). The base company was, of course, the Evraz holding, the majority shareholder of which is Abramovich himself.
The company cost investors $ 131 million, more than two-thirds of which was given to the Development Bank of Kazakhstan by the oligarch’s structures. At the same time, according to rumors, Abramovich was an extremely inconvenient negotiator.
Allegedly, he tried to "beat out" the privileged conditions of the loan. After that, Kazakhstani users of social networks arranged an obstruction to Nazarbayev. Like, he "surrenders" the country's economy to Russian oligarchs.
However, this was not enough. Two years later, Evraz Abramovich was forced to temporarily stop Evraz Caspian Steel. The company attributed this to low seasonal demand and unfavorable pricing conditions.
Someone said that the oligarch lost interest in the enterprise. But most likely the plant’s difficulties arose because of the pressure that Nazarbayev could exert on Abramovich so that he would soon get out of the country.
So it is not surprising that the Kazakh authorities are doing everything so that the share of TransContainer along with Kedentransservice does not go to Abramovich. He has proved himself to be too aggressive in terms of business, an intractable and unpredictable partner.
It seems that this coincided with a personal insult and a desire to get even with the oligarch for the fact that he had not once rendered the family a kind service for arranging a grandson in Chelsea. In this case, both motives could coincide.
What will happen next is only a guess. The Kazakhs have already sent their signal that Kazakhstan does not want to see Abramovich at the helm of TransContainer. But in the event Dariga Nazarbayeva becomes president in 2020, the problems of the oligarch in this country may intensify many times.