Phoenix from Derbent: how Suleiman Kerimov has learned to rise from the ashes

The Dagestani billionaire is no stranger to doubling down and giving way. The bet on Uralkali hasn't triggered, but there are new ambitious projects ahead.
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company "Nafta Moscow" Suleiman Kerimov, owner of 19 on the basis of 2013 was one of the candidates of Forbes "fiasco of the year" award - unsuccessful so look for him in recent months. The award he eventually lost to Igor Zyuzin 194, which fared even worse. And can it be called a failure last year to a person whose status is still counted in the billions of dollars?

It is something else: Karimov once again made a big bet that is not played.

Not such a big, five and a half years ago, when the fall of 2008 in a matter of days in the smoke turned it invested in Western stocks with a leverage of $ 20 billion (Forbes wrote about the financial disaster of the owner "Nafta" in the article "A dangerous player" in the February issue for the year 2012). But the rate of billions of dollars, the largest since the losses - on the company "Uralkali", the purchase of which Kerimov shortly after the disaster in 2008 spent at least $ 2 billion in credit and money that had to sell in late 2013 Mikhail Prokhorov 11 companies "Uralkhim" Dmitry Mazepin 74.

Kerimov - exclusivelygambler, he always was boring just to earn on investments: put, waited and walked out with a profit. Balance sheets, operational management, corporate rules - this is not for him. "Suleiman relies more on intuition to" Chuikov, "and in this sense it is similar to Roman Abramovich, who also burdened with all these contracts, business diagrams, figures," - says party list, Forbes who knows both of them.
"But if you say Abramovich: Roma, well, you're not a businessman, he would agree, say," Well, yes, and that such ", but if Suleiman is to say, he will be offended."

And if Abramovich important thing in life - comfort and the ability to pay all of your favorite expensive toys, then Kerimov - the game at maximum rates and courage.

Corporate business style Kerimov - a speed, scale and desperate risk. For years, waiting the return on investment - not for him, most of the major projects Kerimov did not stay longer than four to five years. After taking crook about $ 6 billion in the mid-2000s, he spent almost all loans for the purchase of shares of "Gazprom & raquo ;, Sberbank and other assets. In the pre-crisis peak of all sold, received a total of about $ 26 billion or $ 20 billion after repayment of debt. In some interest on the money Kerimov and his children could live comfortably for the rest. But no, he immediately put all earned shares in Western companies and banks, believing that the quotes started the recession will be short, and they are "shot" by pulling it to the top and making the world's richest man. But then everything collapsed, and after some months Kerimov was literally nothing to pay staff salaries.

Such a catastrophe would become final for many, but not for Suleiman. Who was imprisoned and came to himself, he again goes through all his many relations among government officials and businessmen, it is new money - they are willing to lend VTB Bank - and more ambitious goals. This "Uralkali" in the struggle for that Kerimov desperate cavalry assaults bypasses Vladimir Potanin 8, and construction of PIK Group, majority Karimov receives free of charge solution to its problems with debts. Back in the big game, Suleiman once again enjoy life, Bought for huge money for their players "Anji" and promised to spend € 1 billion on a new town in Dagestan.

Meanwhile the market has grown, and the same "Uralkali" could be sold for a profit in the billions of dollars. But it's boring, Karimov again played for broke, breaking potash cartel with the "Belaruskali" and turning the entire world potash market. If successful, he became absolute king of that market and as a prize received a Belarusian company, negotiate the purchase of a failed earlier. But the calculation was wrong, and instead of the laurels of triumph Kerimov got infuriated Lukashenko, criminal cases, the general director of "BRIC" in the detention center of the KGB and its name in the list of wanted by Interpol.

In the midst of "potash war" a lot of arguing, he Kerimov incorrectly calculated the situation or the top executives convinced him that the game is worth the candle. Familiar Kerimov said that their managers will always listen attentively, but all the decisions himself. "Karimov is very important, who is working for him, he likes to boast: behold, more spices in this area sitsists, whips topic. And if you tell him, yes, listen, your boyfriend is kind of understands, he just sits and proud. " But when it comes to solutions, Kerimov trusts still own instinct - and the consequences of missteps versed in its sole discretion.

With the fall of profits and quotations of "BRIC" shares worried bankers: Kerimov had to avoid margin calls, sell assets and cut spending. "Spoil the mood", - explained the sources close to Karimov, when he said that will no longer be spending up to $ 200 million a year on your favorite club "Anji", and sold all of his star players. "Karimov missed, damaging the relationship with the main ally of Russia", - understand and big businessmen lined up for the fallen in price, but promising "Uralkali".

The deal is already approved in the Kremlin, but Karimov showed surprising tenacity, and for many weeks resisted all attempts to "push" it for the price.

"He wanted not only to return the investments, but also earn a $ 1-1.5 billion - says a close friend of Kerimov - andfinally got his. "

To deal with Prokhorov "Uralkali" was estimated at $ 19 billion, while the market capitalization of the company at that time was about $ 15 billion.

Shares of FDI, however, also had to sell - they bought Alexander Mamut 42 and founder of the "Rosbildinga" Sergey Gordeev. But Karimov has returned all debts - at least, insists on this source in his entourage. He has remained at least 40% of the company Polyus Gold, the largest gold producer in Russia, and up to 6% of the shares of VTB Bank, which lent him the money: this time Kerimov lost at all. He needs time to once again come to life. "He says the boys, well, you see what I was doing, let me at least take a look around, understand with whom to work on," - he said Forbes businessman comes to Kerimov at the end of last year to discuss the overall project. The fact that Suleiman Kerimov is bound to be "to work on," there is no doubt.