Officials again reported privatization of Sovcomflot. This time the Ministry of Transport stated that the sale of shares of the state company will be held in early July, that is, until this fateful event there are few days. The privatization of Sovcomflot over the past few years and months has been endured so much that it sometimes seems that it will never happen again. True, the authorities with maniacal persistence always say that this is about to happen. And there is a feeling that shadows from the past are involved in this story, as well as one powerful oligarch.
And maybe already it is not necessary?
Officials who regularly declare the sale of shares in the "Modern Commercial Fleet" sometimes remind the Chinese, who take out another "last warning". Sovcomflot was going to sell in the beginning of the tenth years. But every time something did not grow together. A crazy thought already jumps: maybe it, this privatization, if nothing happens? But the idea of selling GFR as one known substance is constantly on the go.
Let us recall the statement of Deputy Finance Minister Alexei Moiseyev, which he made a year and a half ago:
"If the Earth does not fly to the celestial axis, then we expect privatization of Sovcomflot in 2016.
Friends, colleagues, comrades, gentlemen, earthlings! It's hard to believe, but, probably, we no longer exist, for the 2016th is long over, and Sovcomflot has not been privatized. At the beginning of the current year, people started talking about selling this asset again. Privatization was outlined for the spring, because at that time of the year a "window of opportunity" is traditionally opened, said the same Alexei Moiseyev. In the spring, information appeared that the state company would be put up for sale in June. All the terms have already passed, but the officials have appointed new ones. This time, the sale was announced in the Ministry of Transport, saying that this will happen in early July. Fresh legend ...
Bad privatizers are hampered by something
So why are the authorities still unable to sell Sovcomflot, since they just want it to be impossible? There are several versions. With such an asset, you should act cautiously. Without any exaggeration, GFR is the pride of the country. It is one of the world's best commercial fleets, including 149 ships with a total carrying capacity of more than 13 million tons. This is a strategic company whose main profile is transportation of hydrocarbons. And in this sphere Sovcomflot is one of the world leaders.
To sell the state company was prevented by different reasons. As it usually happens: if everything is good with the economy, then there seems to be no need to privatize the special need. And if the crisis and Russian assets become cheaper, then it is very desirable to sell because of a shortage of money in the budget, but the price will be low, therefore, what is called "the toad strangles." Nevertheless, now in the government they say that the market situation accompanies privatization. Sell are going to 25% and gain for it 30 billion rubles. By the way, for the budget of the country it is not something like a penny, but the amount is rather small. But, let's repeat, since I really want to, so long ago would have been sold. However, something hinders. And to understand what it is, perhaps, it is necessary to remove from the cabinet one unsightly skeleton.
Shadow of the scandal's father
Last year, although the Earth did not fly to the celestial axis, a very important event happened in the life of Sovcomflot. His former partner Yuri Nikitin sued the state company in the London Court for huge compensation. The exact amount is unknown, but, according to the media, it could amount to 80 million dollars. We translate into rubles at the rate and get 5 billion, that is, a sixth of what the state wants to help out for a blocking stake. Or about 5% of the total cost of GFR. In general, a decent amount in the scale of the corporation.
The fact is that at the beginning of the zero Nikitin and his accomplices created an interesting and very common scheme. Sovcomflot leased its vessels at a low rate to offshore companies. And they, in turn, provided the ships for sublease, but already on market terms. The difference settled in the pockets of intermediaries. As a result, this story grew to a criminal case, in which the GFR secured the seizure of assets of Yuri Nikitin, who, like other defendants, fled to the UK safely (which is why he was tried in London). So the court admitted that this was an excessive measure, because of which the businessman suffered losses, and now has the right to compensation. In fact, the court's decision looks strange: the Sovcomflot company was deceived, and it's also her fault that she punished her abuser. But the main thing is the date when the court ruled. This happened in September 2016. A month earlier, the authorities postponed the privatization of Sovcomflot, as if foreseeing that the court would issue a verdict not in favor of the company and would spoil the sale of the package. Perhaps it was just a coincidence. Or maybe not. And since we have opened a cabinet with a skeleton, we will get out of it something else, or rather, someone.
Catch the asset in troubled waters
From the materials of the London Court, which, by the way, lasts for many years, it is known that the aforementioned Yuri Nikitin was once a partner of a powerful businessman
Gennady Timchenko, and they worked together with Sovcomflot. But then the relations of the partners deteriorated sharply, moreover, in court Nikitin claimed that Timchenko was behind some, a quote, "criminal actions directed against me." This is on the one hand. And on the other hand, as you know, Gennady Nikolayevich has very good relations with the head of Sovcomflot Sergey Frank. Moreover, they have become related - the daughter of Timchenko is married to Frank's son. As the media reported, the head of the state company, though he never will go against the decision of the authorities on privatization, but he constantly declares about the untimely sale.
Another aspect: the leading hydrocarbon carrier Sovcomflot has always been in the sphere of attention of Timchenko, who built his empire on oil and gas production. And no one would be surprised if this particular businessman once became a co-owner of GFR. Although, for the sake of justice, we have no reason to assert that the entrepreneur intends to buy shares of the state company. At the same time, the government's position is known, which does not want to sell shares to one strategic investor, but wants to privatize Sovcomflot through the exchange, so that the package goes to a lot of minority shareholders. This desire is explained by the fact that such shareholders, unlike one large, will not prevent the state from running the company.
It is rather difficult to discern the true state of behind-the-scenes cases in this muddy water. But there are facts. The government is constantly trying to sell Sovcomflot, and disperse the package in the hands of small investors. And the government always fails. From which we can conclude: either the officials hit their own head on some axis, or someone is hindering them.