Stefan Duerr builds a pyramid on Voronezh land

The collapse of the EkoNiva agrarian empire can cost thousands of farmers and peasants.
Russian officials are not in vain afraid of social networks: already how many goals flew due to careless statements, controversial pictures, videos, etc. Moreover, the embarrassing position of a minister or regional leader can even put not his own post, but reader comments.

This is exactly what happened to the Governor of the Voronezh Region, Alexander Gusev, whose enthusiastic message about the opening of new dairy farms of the EkoNiva group on the VKontakte page caused an unforeseen reaction.

“And do you know, Alexander Viktorovich, about salary delays at EkoNiva?” Immediately asked the Governor's ungrateful readers. And, as it turns out, the same question should be clarified to the heads of the Ryazan, Kaluga, Kursk, Moscow, regions, Bashkortostan, Tatarstan and a number of other regions, and the sooner the better. Since the agricultural holding, controlled by a businessman of German descent Stefan Duerr, threatens to bring Russia a whole bunch of social problems.

Last year, Forbes magazine included Stefan Duerr in the ranking of the richest landowners in Russia, whose plots occupied 524 thousand hectares of land in 12 regions of the country. The magazine estimated the cost of its agricultural holding EkoNiva-APK at 16.2 billion rubles (approximately 230 million euros), while calling it "the country's largest producer of raw milk." But less than two months later, other figures appeared in the press that represented the state of affairs at EkoNiva much more honestly.

It turned out that the holding’s total debts amount to a gigantic amount of 1 billion euros - that is, more than four times the value of the holding’s assets! And the DEBT / EBITDA ratio (the ratio of debt burden to profit before tax) - a key indicator of the "health" of the business - at Econiva holding approached 9. Despite the fact that the value of 4-5 is already considered critical in world practice.

Analysts even began to compare the business of Stefan Duerr with the financial pyramid, however, while banks continue to regularly lend to EkoNiva. Experts attribute this to the high level of influence of the “milk king,” who receives lobbying support in the highest offices and does not miss the chance to “play politics” himself.

Russified German (in 2014 Dyurr "for special merits" in the economic development of our country was awarded a Russian passport), today he holds the post of chairman of the board of the National Union of Milk Producers (Soyuzmoloko). In the Voronezh region, where the headquarters of EkoNiva is located, Duerr is actively promoting the “right people” in the local legislative assembly.

As the newspapers wrote, by agreement with the first persons of the region, Vladimir Litvinov (director of EkoNivaAgro Severnoe company), or Roman Litvinov (director of EkoNivaAgro Levoberezhnoye), or manager Ivan Vorobyev (executive director of EkoNiva-Chernozemye LLC ) - that is, a holding in the region will have its own “legalized” lobby.

However, not one, even the most powerful, administrative resource has ever managed to defeat the laws of the economy. And the fact that the situation in EkoNiva is close to catastrophic is evidenced by many facts and signs.

Regarding the fulfillment by the employer of its obligations to pay wages, Russian legislation has become one of the most stringent in the world. Delays in salaries are the last thing a businessman will do today if, of course, he values ​​freedom. Nevertheless, from people who turned out to be employees (if not to say, hostages) of the agricultural enterprises of Dürr, these are the following messages (style and spelling preserved):

“I want to contact the leaders of the agricultural complex“ Econiva ”!!! When will you stop mocking workers? The last time people were paid was in September, and December was in the yard. My husband and father of a large family for the third month without a salary. We have six children at home. We have nothing to eat !!! The other day, for non-payment they threaten to turn off the light. Winter is on the street. The debt was formed not through our fault. Two goats died of starvation in the courtyard, since there was nothing to feed them. People!!! Help! There is no bread at home for a week! We are located in Davydovka, Liskinsky District, Voronezh Region, ”Oksana Nasedkina, the wife of an employee of one of Dyurr's farms, wrote on Facebook last December.

“Alexander Viktorovich, better deal with the salary of employees of EkoNiva who really suffer from delays. A huge company, it should be embarrassing to make such mistakes. People work, so they should receive money on time, ”user Irina Lolenko writes on the page“ VKontakte ”of Governor Gusev.

The fact that these messages are not lies and not “intrigues of enemies” is evidenced by figures from the report of EkoNiva itself. In the report of the holding for 2018, wage arrears are indicated in black and white - 4.5 million euros, or 322 million rubles. Obviously, the debt load of EkoNiva simply does not allow Dürer to pay salaries on time.

The governor of the Voronezh region responded to complaints in his account with lightning speed, assuring readers that “currently all salaries must be paid” and, in addition, by agreement with the head of EkoNiva, Stefan Duerr, “the company, in turn, will pay employees for 100 thousand rubles for the birth of a child. "

However, this “carrot” from the governor did not greatly brighten up the general picture of what is happening at EkoNiva. And it is especially alarming that EkoNiva, which has been credited beyond any measure, continues to seize land in various regions of Russia, openly claiming to be a dairy monopoly. At the same time, the effectiveness of managing newly acquired assets raises very big doubts.

For example, residents of the village of Kopanishche, Liskinsky district, Voronezh region, complain to the media that all the promises of the German Dürr to turn the farms he bought into a paradise turned out to be zilch. Once upon a time, more than 200 people worked at a local farm, now, under the authority of EkoNiva, there are a dozen or two people working here, but they pay a little, a lot of land is empty, only those fields that are in sight are being cultivated.

In the course of his dairy expansion, Dürr does not disdain frankly raider tricks. In the same Voronezh region, for example, a surveillance procedure has been introduced at LLC Ptitseprom Bobrovsky. At first, in November 2018, the Rosselkhoznadzor revealed bird flu here, as a result, due to the destruction of the stock of birds, the enterprise received damage of 1 billion rubles. Shareholders of the factory asked local banks to restructure loans - by installments and deferment until 2024, but one of Durr's companies, EkoNivaAgro, went to arbitration, initiating the bankruptcy of Ptitseprom Bobrovsky LLC.

At the same time, Dyurr’s poultry industry is not interested: having acquired the land of the poultry farm, he is going to build another dairy complex on them, the Abireg news agency believes. That is, a diversified agricultural industry in the region is actually replaced by a "monocultural" one, and of course there is nothing good in this. Just as in the other eleven regions of EkoNiva’s expansion, the taking of land and the takeover by Dürr of local companies leads to the disappearance of regional brands.

As there is nothing good in Durr’s milk, which the representatives of retail chains have long called “defective” among themselves. Livestock experts are sure that in the incredible volumes that EkoNiva gives out, cows simply cannot milk. At the same time, in one of the last interviews, Stefan Duerr stated that according to the results of 2019, the annual volume of milk production at his enterprises will be almost doubled: from 484 to 800 thousand tons! Farmers independent from the German farmer are urging consumers to be extremely cautious of such “milk” and, if possible, conduct a qualified examination of its composition. It is not known on what "needle" the cows of Dürr are sitting, they say.

The most disturbing thing in this situation is that the credited Dyurr’s “pyramid” can collapse at any moment, burying dozens of farms absorbed throughout Russia under itself. It is not difficult to imagine what consequences for the entire Russian agricultural industry and what kind of social crisis it will lead. In the interview mentioned above, Stefan Duerr said, however, that he was taking an “investment break” and was not going to seize new assets in the near future. But whether EkoNiva can successfully “digest” its already “eaten” volumes under the existing debt load is a big question.

The holding plans include the construction of processing plants in the Novosibirsk, Voronezh, Leningrad, Orenburg and Moscow regions, and the Republic of Bashkiria. 37.7 billion rubles are needed for the Schuchye cheese factory and Bobrov baby food factory in the Voronezh region, more than 20 billion rubles for the Maslyanino factory in the Novosibirsk region, and 35 billion rubles for the Stupino factory in the Moscow region. It is clear that the next multi-billion loans will be the source of these large-scale investments. But what if an “effective” German manager (who, by the way, has spent more time outside of Russia in recent years than at his enterprises) once drops this “basket” with the “eggs” collected in it?