Mitsui withdrew from the capital of one of the largest Russian agricultural holdings

In the future, cooperation with Rusagro Vadim Moshkovich is planned.
The main shareholder of the agricultural holding "Sodruzhestvo", Lorino (Overseas) Limited, in December 2016 bought out the whole of its share from the Japanese Mitsui & Co., which owned 10% of the shares of the agricultural holding, according to the audited consolidated statements of the "Commonwealth" for the fiscal year 2017 30 June). This information was confirmed by the representative of Mitsui & Co.

Mitsui is a multidisciplinary group with a capitalization of $ 30.5 billion. It has interests in finance, agriculture, metallurgy, the chemical industry, energy, etc. 97.63% of the company's shares are in free float, its largest shareholders, according to Thomson Reuters , - Mitsubishi UFJ Trust and Banking (5.28%), Asset Management One (4.17%).

In the capital of the Commonwealth, the Japanese group entered in 2012. Then the Russian agro-company was valued at $ 2.2 billion. In concluding the deal, the parties signed an agreement on strategic partnership in global markets, in particular, in the purchase, export and sale of grain from Russia and CIS countries ; Mitsui's participation in the development of the production of fodder for the Commonwealth, as well as the cattle-breeding complexes of the holding in Russia and CIS countries was stipulated; The parties also agreed on joint purchase in Brazil, processing and sale of soybeans - through the subsidiaries of both companies.

Cooperation in the purchase and export of cereals produced in Russia and CIS countries should give Mitsui the pre-emptive right to the crops supplied by the Commonwealth. Mitsui, in turn, promised to share a rich international experience in the field of grain trade.

The group of companies "Sodruzhestvo" is one of the largest processors of oilseeds in the CIS and Europe, it has production complexes in Russia, Brazil, etc. The group is controlled by the family of businessman Alexander Lutsenko (131st place in the rating of the richest businessmen of Russia with a fortune of $ 800 million in 2017, according to the Forbes version). The revenue of the Commonwealth in fiscal year 2017 was $ 2.3 billion (+ 14% compared to 2015-2016), net profit - $ 39.2 million (+ 8%), according to the report of the agricultural holding.

Why the Japanese investor decided to withdraw from the capital of the Commonwealth, a representative of Mitsui & Co. did not explain.

Mitsui could be disappointed in cooperation with the Commonwealth, says a person who knows about the relationship of Japanese and Russian companies from employees of the Russian agricultural holding. Initially, Japanese investors were counting on a partnership, he continues: joint participation in projects, access to new markets. In fact, the Japanese, as it turned out, are assigned the role of an institutional investor, not a partner in the broad sense. The owners of the Commonwealth made most of the decisions independently, without involving a minority shareholder. As a result, Mitsui & Co. it became not interesting, the interlocutor of "Vedomosti" sums up.

A representative of the Sodruzhestvo Group of Companies did not answer Vedomosti's questions.

In the Russian business practice, the interests of minority shareholders are rarely taken into account, says Dmitry Rylko, director general of the Institute for the Agrarian Market Studies. To participate in business and make decisions, it is desirable to own a minimum of a blocking stake, that is, 25%. Global companies that are seriously considering the Russian market, usually prefer to have even a controlling stake in Russian enterprises - at least more than 50%, or better all 100%. As an example, Rylko leads the world leaders in the agricultural and food industries - Cargill, Danone, Bunge, Glencore, Unilever, and others.

However, by the time of withdrawal from the capital of the Commonwealth, Mitsui has already found a new partner in Russia - Rusagro group Vadim Moshkovich. In December 2016, the Japanese and Russian sides announced cooperation, later it became known that Mitsui acquired 0.005% in Rusagro. The parties decided to develop new business opportunities in Russia, including exports, introduction of advanced technologies and investments, the Rusagro report for 2016 said.

The proceeds of Rusagro, according to its own data, amounted to 79 billion rubles. in 2017, the company produces 43% of lump sugar in Russia and 43% of margarine, says its website.

Cooperation with Rusagro looks logical and promising for Mitsui - Rusagro is building an agricultural cluster in the Far East that is oriented to Asian markets, says VTB Capital analyst Nikolai Kovalev. And here the Japanese investor can get capitalization from the growth of Rusagro's business value, and also become a strategic partner of the agricultural holding company, which will promote Rusagro's products in the Asian markets, the expert concludes.