Scientific adviser to Russian President Vladimir Putin, rector of the St. Petersburg State Mining University (SPbGGU) Vladimir Litvinenko has become a billionaire, according to Forbes. His fortune is estimated at $ 1.5 billion. Litvnenko owes the growth of his prosperity not to his scientific activities, but to the block of shares in PhosAgro. Now his share in the company is 20.98%, he is the second largest shareholder of the fertilizer producer after the Guriev family, the main beneficiaries of the company. Another major shareholder is Igor Antoshin, who owns 4.5% of Phosagro.
The company's shares have risen in price over the year from 2,443 rubles (April 6, 2020) to 4,163 rubles (April 6, 2021) per share. The rise in share prices is driven by good results in 2020. The company's revenue in 2020 increased by 2.3% compared to the previous year and amounted to 253.9 billion rubles. The favorable situation on the fertilizer market played a role. Investors' interest is fueled by the anticipation of a dividend decision to be made at a board meeting on April 14.
The fact that Litvinenko is a shareholder of PhosAgro with a 10.03% stake became known on the eve of the company's IPO in 2011. In the late 1990s, Litvinenko chaired the academic council at which future President Vladimir Putin defended his Ph.D. thesis. By 2011, Litvinenko headed the board of directors of PhosAgro. As Maxim Volkov, who was then CEO of PhosAgro, said in 2010 in an interview with Vedomosti, he brought Litvinenko to the board of directors himself - the top manager explained that he knew him all his adult life, and the company employs hundreds of SPbU graduates.
How exactly Litvinenko got his stake in PhosAgro is not completely clear. As Forbes wrote, in the 1990s he could participate in the voucher privatization of Apatit. At the same time, Vedomosti's sources assumed that the former scientific advisor of Vladimir Putin could have received a block of shares for informal assistance to PhosAgro during the Yukos affair. PhosAgro itself claimed that Litvinenko acquired all of his shares on a reimbursable basis.