Seeds of sanctions gave rise to sprouts

Oleg Deripaska shares the agrarian business.
Under the US sanctions, Oleg Deripaska continues to get out of direct control over the companies. The agroholding "Kuban" belonging to the businessman in August has ceased to own a large seed producer of the NGO "Seed breeding of the Kuban". The new owner of Lyudmila Kuchmenova was previously associated with the business of his cousin, Mr. Deripaska Pavel Ezubov. The scheme can help to weaken the attention to the assets of the US Treasury if it does not take into account the informal ties between the new and former founders.

JSC "Agroobedinenie" Kuban "(included in the" Basic Element "of Oleg Deripaska) from August 2018 ceased to be the owner of LLC" NPO Semenovodstvo Kuban "", according to the data of the Unified State Register of Legal Entities. The new owner is Lyudmila Kuchmenova, who owned 0.1% and headed OOO Glavstroyresurs (data from SPARK-Interfax). This company is associated with the cousin of Mr. Deripaska Pavel Ezubov. The head of the "Seed Breeding of the Kuban" Nikolai Gazarov confirmed to "Kommersant" the change of the owner. All economic relations with previous owners are broken, he assured, without answering other questions. In the "Kuban" declined to comment, failed to contact Ms. Kuchmenova.

"Seed breeding of the Kuban" produces seeds of maize hybrids "Ladoga", as well as seeded wheat, barley, corn and sunflower seeds. The company owns the Ladoga and Tikhoretsk maize-grinding plants, as well as the Belorechensky seed processing plant. The processing capacity of enterprises exceeds 10 thousand tons of seeds per year. According to SPARK-Interfax, in 2017 NGO revenue decreased by 10.5%, to 623.55 million rubles, net profit decreased 1.4 times, to 284.14 million rubles. Hybrids occupy more than 90% of the market for seeds of maize, sunflower, rapeseed, sugar beet, etc., says the leading expert of the Institute for Agrarian Market Studies Yevgeny Ivanov. As he said, hybrids allow to receive a greater crop at smaller investments.

"Kuban" unites dairy farms, meat processing and pig-breeding complexes, sugar factory "Svoboda", elevators, etc. According to the BEFL, as of May 2018, Kuban managed 112 thousand hectares of land, which corresponds to the 37th place in the list of the largest Russian latifundistov. The turnover of JSC "Agroobedinenie" Kuban "in 2017 decreased by 7.2%, to 6.96 billion rubles., Net profit fell by 24.8%, to 941.69 million rubles.

In April, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the US Treasury included Oleg Deripaska and his company, including Kuban, in the SDN list that bans business with US residents and access to the US financial system. Finam analyst Alexei Korenev believes that the exit of the Kuban from the founders of NGOs could be connected with sanctions. According to his estimates, the entire business of the "Seed Industry of the Kuban" may cost 1.45-1.81 billion rubles. Partner of "NAFCO-Consultants" Pavel Ikkert agrees that changes in the ownership structure of the NGO "Seed of Kuban" are related to the sanctions risks of companies controlled by Oleg Deripaska. At the end of April, the businessman basically agreed to reduce his stake in En + below 50%, and in May he resigned from the boards of directors of En + and "Rusal", which partially mitigated the sanctions against them. In July, it became known that Fenestraria Consultans Ltd of Mr. Deripaska reduced the share in OOO Glavstroy-Invest from 99.9% to 90.9%, which owns Glavstroy-SPb LLC (builds residential complexes in St. Petersburg and Moscow region).

The managing partner of the law firm Rustam Kurmaev and partners Rustam Kurmaev believes that Oleg Deripaska can retain control over the companies, passing on business to individuals with whom he maintains a personal relationship, since "there will be no legal connection". The scheme can reduce the degree of attention to assets from the US, agrees Paul Ickert. Another question, he adds, will take into account whether OFAC has informal connections between new and former owners.