Roman and the guys: how the team of billionaire Abramovich works

Gold mining, meat production, fishing, modern art - what do people who have worked with a billionaire for more than twenty years.
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Last Monday it became known about a major deal in the fishing business. Businessmen Irina Panchenko and Yefim Malkin were the owners of 25% of the Far Eastern company Poronai. This is one of the key assets of the fishery holding "Gidrostroy" senator from the Sakhalin region Alexander Verkhovsky (shares of its companies are transferred to trust management).

According to Forbes calculations, Poronai accounts for about 20% of quotas (mostly pollock and herring) and revenues ($ 331 million in 2016) of Verkhovsky's companies. Meanwhile, the new partners of Verkhovsky are better known as members of the team of billionaire Roman Abramovich, who have worked with him side by side for the past twenty years. Forbes found out with what other assets associates of the former governor of Chukotka are connected and what role they played in the creation of his business empire.


At the end of October 2011, Roman Abramovich entered the Gothic building of the High Court of London to testify within the bounds of the legendary litigation with the disgraced Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky. Speaking before the court, Abramovich first publicly listed the members of his team: Eugene Shvidler, Andrei Gorodilov, Eugene Tenenbaum and Irina Panchenko.

The team was formed in the late 90's, when the whole four worked with Abramovich in Sibneft, which laid the foundation for the state of the billionaire. Shvidler was then president of the company, Gorodilov - first vice president, Panchenko - vice president for finance, and Tenenbaum headed the corporate finance department.

In 2005, Sibneft bought Gazprom for $ 13.3 billion. Abramovich at that time for five years as he was the governor of Chukotka, where he was "moved" his whole team. Almost all the managers of the former governor Alexander Nazarov then retained their posts, but new people were added to the structure of the apparatus - in the form of, for example, "assistants to the vice-governor." Abramovich's people actually had more powers than other officials, says Pavel Apletin, who at that time was the editor-in-chief of the newspaper Krainy Sever. This was necessary to control and harmonize both budgetary and extrabudgetary (in fact - controlled Abramovich) sources of financing, he said.

The ability to build long-term relationships is one of Abramovich's key strengths. His team has not disintegrated to this day. Almost the entire four (except Gorodilov) works for the investment company Millhouse, which manages Abramovich's assets. There are also other billionaires from Sibneft, for example, the managing director of Millhouse David Davidovich, who once headed the directorate of marketing in the oil company. And Irina Panchenko and Yevgeny Tenenbaum manage irrevocable trusts, to which Abramovich's property was transferred and whose beneficiaries are his children.

Gold and other metals

Eugene Shvidler is not just Abramovich's top manager, but also one of his oldest friends. Their partnership began back in the late 80's, when both briefly traded toys through the co-op "Uyut". Today the scale of the business is different. In 2006, Abramovich and Shvidler bought 41% of the Evraz metallurgical company for $ 3 billion from the founders of Alexander Abramov and Alexander Frolov. When, at the height of the financial crisis, the debt-laden Evraz had to be rescued, including through a loan from VEB, Abramovich and Shvidler personally invested $ 200 million in bonds and depositary receipts of the company. Shvidler still owns a 3.06% stake in Evraz through a number of offshore companies. When the company capitalizes about £ 5.2 billion, its package costs about £ 160 million. Today, Shvidler heads the board of directors of Millhouse Capital. He also owns a 12.6% stake in Highland Gold Mining.

Highland Gold joined the Abramovich business empire in 2007, when the billionaire became interested in investing in gold mining. And, of course, in Chukotka. First Milhouse became the owner of the field "Double", and then bought for $ 400 million a 40% stake in Highland Gold - at that time the fourth largest gold mining company in Russia. This company was well known to Abramovich: among its founders in 2002 was former member of the board of directors of Sibneft Ivan Kulakov.

The purchase was more like salvation: Rosprirodnadzor accused Highland Gold that it does not work on a large Mayskoye mine, bought back in 2003, and threatened to revoke the license. And the "May" got Highland Gold not without the help of Abramovich. The company with the same name, who owned the license for the site, was in charge of Milhouse, so the interests of the seller in the transaction were represented by the top managers of the investment company and Andrei Gorodilov, the vice-governor of Kamchatka.

Before that, Gorodilov stood at the sources of Sibneft. His father, Viktor, was in charge of the Tyumen mining enterprise Noyabrskneftegaz, which in 1995 merged with the Omsk refinery. The merged company was named "Sibneft", and then through the pledge auction went to Abramovich.

Andrei Gorodilov put his hand to the creation of Sibneft and Higland, and now runs the Prodo meat holding company, Andrei Gorodilov put his hand to the creation of Sibneft and Higland, and now runs the Prodo meat holding Photo DR

Today, Gorodilov can not be found among the top managers of Milhouse. On his shoulders is entrusted the management of another large asset - food holding company "Prodo".

Meat with vegetables

Prodo appeared in the early 2000s, when Abramovich's team bought up food assets. In 2004, the holding was divided into two areas: dairy and meat. The first turned into Unimilk and was sold to former partners of Abramovich Andrey Beskhmelnitsky and Andrei Blokh. The second was bought by the top-management of the billionaire. Today Prodo produces products under the brands Klinsky, Omsk bacon, Troekurovo, Rococo and Yasnaya Gorka. According to SPARK-Interfax, 50% of the company belongs to Andrei Gorodilov - he also serves as the company's CEO. The rest of the shares are equally divided among themselves by Irina Panchenko and Yefim Malkin, a former senator from Chukotka, who in the 1990s headed the department for work with consumers in Sibneft. In a conversation with Forbes Woman, Irina Panchenko said that the team was taken to be followed by one of the shareholders, in this case Gorodilov. The rest can help if necessary.

Assistance was required at the height of the crisis, when the creditor of "Prodo" Alfa-Bank overrun his claims for 3.5 billion rubles. Then David Davidovich was following the business (he owned 50%). The group's enterprises were overgrown with a series of loans of friendly companies, they received more than 1 billion rubles from their own beneficiary, offshore Nevern Overseas, and by the fall of 2009, there were over 13 billion rubles owed each other. Prodo lawyers expertly delayed the time for consideration of claims from banks in arbitration and secured the arrest of the holding's property for a total of 5.2 billion rubles, comparable to the debt of Alfa, as well as Gazprombank, Sberbank and Mezhprombank. In August 2009, Alfa tried to launch the bankruptcy of Prodo, but the group itself quickly joined the procedure. The world was over: the loan was restructured, and Alfa-Bank "received a small stake in the companies of the group.

In addition to Prodo, there is another agrarian asset in the sphere of Abramovich's influence, Greenhouse. 25% of it belongs to Irina Panchenko, the remaining shares - the son of billionaire Arkady Abramovich. Panchenko herself joined Abramovich's team in 1997, becoming vice president for finance at Sibneft, and has still retained her profile. Acquaintance with the billionaire helped her in 2017 to enter the Forbes rating of Russia's richest women ($ 100 million).

In 2017, the financial director of Millhouse for a short time was the owner of 6% in the company "Western Estate", which owns the business park "Krylatsky Hills" in the west of Moscow - one of the most expensive office centers in Moscow.

Not only business

The participation of Abramovich's team in the activities of a businessman is not limited to the business sphere. Panchenko, for example, acts as a representative of Abramovich in the Bolshoi Theater, is a member of his board of trustees. She is also a patron of the Garazh Museum of Contemporary Art, a joint project of Abramovich and his wife Daria Zhukova (in August 2017, it became known about their divorce) - like Sergei Kapkov, who worked with the oligarch in Chukotka in 2001-2003 - headed the department culture, youth, sport, tourism and information policy.

Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov, who once served as a lawyer, accompanied companies Roman Abramovich and received as an option 0.5% of Sibneft, thereby earning a start-up capital, in 2013 told Forbes that they are a businessman "in their time took up the fate of the Meshchersky Park in Skolkovo. " In Millhouse, then estimated investments in the object of $ 25 million - they went to equip 380 hectares. Since 2016, according to SPARK-Interfax, the only owner of the Autonomous NGO Restoration and Conservation of Forests Park Meshchersky is Andrey Gorodilov.