New rich: five facts about Leonid Michelson

Co-owner of Novatek and Sibur Leonid Michelson first became the richest Russian according to Forbes magazine.
Origin source
The magazine estimated his fortune at $ 14.4 billion. RBC remembered some facts from his biography.

Business in exchange for a "Zhiguli"

Leonid Michelson in the late 1970s and graduated from Engineering Institute and took a foreman on construction of the gas pipeline Urengoy - Chelyabinsk. Contractor construction was building trust "Kuybyshevtruboprovodstroy" - the largest in the system of the Ministry of Construction of Oil and Gas Industry of the USSR. Trust led Michelson father. Ten years later, the future billionaire succeeded his father at the head of the enterprise, and in 1991 the construction company was corporatized and renamed "Samara national enterprise" Nova ".

"I sold the Zhiguli and bought 15% of shares of" Nova "[at the time Manager could not buy more - RBC]. Other employees of the company have gained "- Michelson recalled in an interview with" Vedomosti ".

From the "Nova" subsequently increased NOVATEK. There was no money, and oil and gas companies paying the contractor Michelson shares in mining companies. So Michelson partners have received some of theirFirst Asset.

Abortive partnership

In the spring of 2002, the company "Novafininvest" affiliated with "New" Michelson, announced the merger of assets with "Itera" Igor Makarov. At that time, "Itera" was the largest private gas companies, whose business has grown largely due to good relations with the leadership of "Gazprom" headed by Vyakhirev. On a parity basis Partners have created a new holding company "Oil and gas company" Itera ", whose reign led Michelson and Makarov had to head the board of directors.

It was assumed that in the new holding company will include about 20 gas production and distribution companies with reserves of over 2 trillion cubic meters. meters of gas, the value of assets was estimated at more than $ 2 billion. In 2002, the combined company had to produce 30 billion cubic meters. m (more would only "Gazprom", dobyvshego 520 billion cu m.), and in 2015 - 100 billion cubic meters. meters of gas.

But after six months, the partners have decided to postpone the merger, citing the legal complexities. The real reason was that the "Itera" had problems with the new leadership "haProm "led by Alexey Miller, he began to return the group's assets, which under the previous management of the group went to" Itera ". Makarov had to give up controlling stakes in "Purgaz" and "Severneftegazprom." "The market was not ready for the appearance at the time of the private gas superkompanii. Some of the politicians supported the idea, while others do not ", - he explained later Makarov in an interview with" Kommersant "the reason because of which collapsed deal with Michelson. In 2013, Makarov sold "Itera", "Rosneft".

A Michelson bought from "Itera" share in joint projects and renamed "Novafininvest" in Novatek, which consolidates the main assets and in 2005 held an IPO on the London Stock Exchange for a total amount of about $ 1 billion.


One of the main projects Novatek - "Yamal LNG" - involves the construction of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) capacity of 16.5 million tons per year. The resource base for the project - South Tambeyskoye field. The total project cost is estimated at $ 27 billion, the launch ProgrammedRowan in 2017.

The license for the Yuzhno-Tambeyskoye field with huge reserves (1.2 trillion cu. M) of gas initially belonged to the company "Tambeineftegaz", controlled by businessman Nikolai Bogachev (75%), which in the 1990s took part in the privatization of many Russian exploration companies. Another 25% were from the Regional Development Fund of Yamal, who oversaw the then deputy governor YaNAO Joseph Levinsohn. Levinson - a close friend of the Michelson, before joining the civil service involved in the development of NOVATEK (for example, proposed the establishment of one of its main "Tarkosaleneftegaz" producing "daughters"). But Michelson has always refuted the assumption that Levinson was a shareholder of Novatek, and their friendship gave preferences to the company, when he became vice-governor.

In 2003, the regional fund transferred 25% "Tambeineftegaz" NOVATEK in exchange for 7.58% of the gas company. But two years later, prosecutors admitted YaNAO some transactions fund illegal Levinsohn had to resign, and Novatek sold shares "Tambeineftegaz" Gazprombank structure. After that BogachevHe created the company "Yamal LNG", which transferred the license to the South Tambeyskoye. 49% of this company was going to sell it to foreign companies (51% would be left in the "Tambeineftegaz") and even received prior consent from the three - Repsol, Shell and Petro Canada. But the deal with any of them did not take place - in the fight for the deposit came "Gazprom".

After many trials in 2006 Bogachev had to sell a controlling stake "Yamal LNG" structures Alisher Usmanov, who was then a partner of "Gazprom". The deal is estimated at approximately $ 400 million since then "Yamal LNG" has at least twice changed owners -. From Usmanov's assets transferred to the businessman and friend of Vladimir Putin Gennady Timchenko (the amount of the transaction was not disclosed), which in 2009 sold the 51% stake in Novatek for $ 650 million. By the way, Timchenko was already owned about 5% of NOVATEK, he later increased its stake to 23.49%, becoming the second largest shareholder after the Michelson.

In 2011, NOVATEK has consolidated 100% "Yamal LNG" and began to implement a plan Bogachev - attract Interndnyh partners in the project: 20% it received France's Total and China's CNPC, is still 9.9% - Chinese "Silk Road" fund (Silk Road Fund, SRF). The latter transaction was only completed March 15, 2016, for her "Yamal LNG" appreciated more than € 10 billion.

Strategic partners

"I do not exclude that then there will be strategic investors, who together with me will be engaged in" Sibur ", but the controlling stake will remain with me," - said Michelson in an interview with "Vedomosti" in the summer of 2011, after the acquired 50% of the largest petrochemical companies Eastern Europe. The seller of the asset has been Gazprombank, Michelson agreed with them subsequently to increase its stake in "SIBUR" to 100%. Very soon, a partner at the Michelson "Sibur" was Timchenko, to redeem 37.5% stake in the company.

In 2014, the second largest shareholder of "Sibur" was a former vice president of the company, Cyril Shamalov (Reuters agency calls his son in law of President Vladimir Putin).

Michelson, until recently, retained control of the company: as of September 2014 (the latest date phide "Sibur" shareholders), it owned 50.2%. But in December 2015 Petrochemical Holding sold 10% of its shares to the Chinese Sinopec, the effective share Michaelson in "Sibur" decreased to 43.2%.

As a result of the deal with Sinopec Michelson "ceased to be the main controlling shareholder group", - admitted "Sibur" in the report for 2015. In addition, it has led to changes "in the procedures for approving the number of operations" companies. Representative "Sibur" did not comment on RBC of any transactions in question. Nevertheless, Michelson retained the post of chairman of the board of directors of "Sibur". If we assume that its stake in the holding company were not significantly changed since 2014, in a deal with Sinopec he could sell about 7% of the shares "Sibur", to gain for this package of about $ 940 million (for the deal with the Chinese 10% of shares "Sibur" were estimated at $ 1.338 billion, said the FAS Igor Artemyev, head). Michelson representative refused to comment.

The cultural potential

Leonid Michelson long been investing not only in oil and gas projects, but also in art. Pictures of business serviceschanges began to fly when he was about 30 years old, he recalled in an interview with Financial Times. In 2009, Michelson started VAC (Victoria - the Art of being Contemporary) Fund, which supports the museum of modern art, gives grants to young artists and curators. The Foundation is named after his only daughter Victoria.

The first exhibition of loud VAC - exposition "Modernikon. Contemporary art of Russia "was held in 2010 in Turin. Foundation for several years has been a partner of the Venice Biennale of contemporary art and architecture. Michelson is on the board of trustees of the New Museum of Modern Art in New York and the International Board of Trustees of Tate in London.

The last acquisition of the Michelson - HPP-2 on Bolotnaya Square, on the spot where it is going to create a museum of contemporary art. The 100% of historical station he paid "Gazprom" 1.7 billion rubles. The former head of the Moscow Department of Culture Sergei Kapkov told me that it was he who advised the station to buy back the businessman, who was looking for a space for the museum: "He has a large collection, he invited me, Showed. "

Michelson hopes his daughter will head later VAC, but strongly opposed that, she worked in Novatek. "The people of my level often want their children involved in their business, but I strongly opposed this, - he said in an interview. - I know how difficult is the business. The relationship of people change when they are engaged in business, and I do not want that to happen to my daughter. "