Test for coronavirus in the body of the owner of the concern "Uralkali" Dmitry Mazepin gave negative results. Now, the enthusiastic tycoon is trying to get technology for disinfectant production from the Department of Defense, and also use the COVID-19 pandemic to make up for business failures.
The other day, the owner of one of the world's three largest producers of potash fertilizers turned to Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Belousov with a request to provide state support to his business. Dmitry Mazepin, along with the heads of Mechel and Acron, asks to defer payment of loans to state banks from 2020 to 2021-2022. The appeal also contains a requirement to subsidize the interest rate on loans that will be raised in the next two years. Everything would be fine, but the production of mineral fertilizers from the coronavirus was not affected. Another thing is that the problems in Mazepin's business began long before the epidemic.
Mines for Stalin from Minister Kolchak
According to the Forbes rating, Uralkali is in 56th place among Russian companies according to the results of 2018 with revenue of 173.6 billion rubles. In 2019, revenue amounted to 180.237 billion rubles. In terms of production - 11.1 million tons of potassium chloride in 2019 (3% less than in 2018) - its five mines and six processing plants are second only to Canadian Nutrien Ltd and Belarus Belaruskali, competing with them for demand leading consumers. First of all, India, China, Russia and the countries of Southeast Asia, which occupy more than half of the world market. Over 60% of Uralkali's sales come from these countries.
It all began in 1925. The geological expedition of a professor at Perm University and a former minister of education in the government of Admiral Kolchak Pavel Preobrazhensky discovered the Verkhnekamsk deposit of potassium and magnesium salts. The USSR economy was in dire need of such raw materials, so soon, by decision of the Presidium of the State Planning Commission and with the knowledge of Comrade Stalin, potash plants were laid in Solikamsk and Berezniki.
“Solikamsk used to be the provincial estates of the Counts Stroganovs,” the announcer of the Soviet pre-war film magazine was delighted, “and now the world's largest potash plant has begun working here ... High-quality chemical fertilizers for the socialist crop!”
During the Great Patriotic War, enterprises established the production of carnallite. Alloys made from titanium and magnesium extracted from this mineral have been used in the aviation industry. In 1964, the Bereznikovsky and Solikamsk combines were merged into Uralkali, but 19 years later, the Solikamsk enterprise was separated into a separate production association Silvinit.
According to the “History” section of the “Uralkali” site, from 1992 to 2001, nothing worthy of attention happened in the company. It seems that they want to forget about the wild privatization of the association when Dmitry Rybolovlev became its owner.
According to the covenants of Comrade Dreiser
The future oligarch and the billionaire began modestly - with the private medical company Magnets. The patients there were using magnetotherapy according to the method of Father Dmitry - doctor of medical sciences and a teacher at the Perm Institute, who graduated with honors from the future potassium king. The revenues of Magnetix were not too large; the sale was much more successful. Inspired by the novels of American communist writer Theodore Dreiser about tycoon Frank Cowperwood, Rybolovlev made his first million in beer trading, then he bought up Chubais vouchers and exchanged them for shares of Perm enterprises.
Dmitry's father-in-law Valery Chuprakov served as director of the Perm Mineral Fertilizer Plant. In 1995, the fate of Uralkali was decided, Rybolovlev acquired enough shares to head his board of directors and ... was imprisoned on charges of organizing the murder of the director of his other enterprise Neftekhimik JSC Evgeny Panteleimonov.
Ironically, Rybolovlev spent almost the same time as Dreiser's Cowperwood in an American prison - 11 months against 13, but he was eventually acquitted.
Subsequently, the capitalist Rybolovlev also lived according to the precepts of the communist Dreiser. Like Cowperwood, he constantly acquired real estate (the Florida estate of the future US President Donald Trump cost him $ 95 million) and works of art. The oligarch spent more than $ 2 billion on paintings by famous artists from Gauguin to Picasso. In 2014, he considered that he overpaid twice and
According to Dreiser, family relations also developed, only in Frank the divorce process was short, and in Dmitry - truly epic. He sued Elena from 2008 to 2015. The wife claimed $ 4.5 billion, that is, half of the businessman’s official condition, but eventually agreed to $ 603 million and the Swiss mansion.
Billions in failures
Having concentrated 65.5% of Uralkali's shares in the Cyprus offshore Madura Holdings, Rybolovlev ruled the concern for 15 years. Using the main Russian advantage - cheap and fairly skilled labor, he was able to reach the level of 11% of the global production of potash fertilizers, but production was carried out according to the principle “after us at least a flood”.
After the ore was removed, voids appeared, and the earth crumbled in them, forming huge funnels. In Soviet times, emptiness was invariably laid waste rock, there was only one accident in 1986, and even then far from residential areas. When Rybolovlev, the territory of Bereznikov was like a lunar landscape.
The worst accident was the 2006 accident, when the erupted waters flooded the mine of the First Berezniki mine department. There were no casualties, but the city began to gradually go underground: huge failures formed in one place or another. In total, over the past 13 years, ten of them appeared: the first and largest, which arose on July 28, 2007, quickly turned into a giant crater with an area of about 120 thousand m² and a depth of 110 m. Locals are not discouraged and even give dips affectionate names like “Big Brother ”(The very first and largest),“ Pancake ”(appeared at Shrovetide),“ Summer resident ”(appeared near the summer house cooperative“ Klyuchiki ”).
In total, about a hundred buildings, including schools, kindergartens and the oldest church in the city, the Church of the Beheading of John the Baptist, were declared emergency in Berezniki. The costs of relocating homeless citizens alone amounted to 2 billion rubles. By the volume of emergency housing, the Perm Territory is in second place in Russia, and many houses collapsing before their eyes are considered suitable for living.
After the first accident, a high government commission took up the situation, during the course of which it criticized the owner more than once. Minister of Emergency Situations Sergei Shoigu suggested "to see the financial results of the work of this company in recent years, as well as to find out who is the first tax payment number in Switzerland." However, the commission was headed by Minister of Natural Resources Yuri Trutnev, whom Dmitry intensively promoted to the governors of the region. Trutnev found allies in the government, and Rybolovlev was found not guilty. The earthquakes and the Soviet regime, which were not building strong enough houses in Berezniki, were to blame.
Subsequently, some managers were still charged, but not for failures. The vice-speaker of the City Duma Bereznikov and the ex-head of the Uralkali department Andrey Musikhin received five years for giving a bribe in the amount of $ 200 thousand to Vitaly Makarikhin, deputy head of the Federal Tax Service of the Perm Region. Musikhin said that the customer of the transaction in order to change the results of the inspection of the manufacturer of oil and gas equipment of Iskra-Avigaz CJSC was the former director of Uralkali Anatoly Lebedev, but he urgently left for London, where, as you know, there is no extradition.
Footballers for the Prince of Monaco
Rybolovlev himself left Russia during the work of the Trutnev commission and in 2010 sold his stake in Uralkali for $ 6.5 billion. The claims of the pillars of the vertical of power such as Sergei Shoigu immediately came to naught. Dmitry Evgenievich healed to his pleasure with young models. Well, I was finally able to properly pamper my beloved daughter Catherine.
In 2011, Ekaterina Rybolovleva became the owner of a penthouse in New York for $ 88 million, and in 2013 she received the Greek islands of Scorpios and Sparti, which cost her loving dad $ 126 million. Earlier, Scorpios belonged to the famous Greek billionaire Aristotle Onassis. Now Rybolovlev plans to create a luxury resort on the island.
Will it work? Having acquired a controlling stake in Monaco football club in 2011, a Perm businessman returned him to the first league of France, and in 2017 even led to gold medals. The co-owner of the club, Prince of Monaco, Albert II was delighted, but gradually his feelings for Rybolovlev cooled. Now the Monegasque authorities accuse Rybolovlev of corruption, and the new Minister of Justice, Robert Jelly, is determined to bring his case to an end.
Baumgertner - hostage to Lukashenko
The largest buyer of fishing securities was the owner of the Nafta Moscow group, Suleiman Kerimov (25% of Uralkali). In addition to him, the new co-owners included Alexander Nesis (IST group, 17.7%), Filaret Galchev (Eurocement group, 15%) and Alexander Mamut (Troika Dialog, 3.5%). The board of directors was headed by former head of the administration of Boris Yeltsin, Alexander Voloshin, who, after leaving the chairmanship of the board of directors of RAO UES and Norilsk Nickel, needed a no less respectable place for feeding.
Voloshin's official earnings in the new position amounted to $ 1 million, however, according to popular belief, there was a classic sinecure. All major decisions were made by the main shareholders, primarily Kerimov. Earlier, the Dagestan oligarch, who had bought a 25% stake in Silvinit, managed to achieve its merger with Uralkali, which Rybolovlev could not achieve. However, the new corporation was already waiting for new turmoil.
Along with Russia, the owners of the main world reserves of potash ore are distant Canada and close Belarus. Rybolovlev actively contacted the Belarusian side and became one of the initiators of the creation of the Belarusian Potash Company CJSC (BCC) in 2005, which combined the sales of Uralkali and Belaruskali. If other Russian mining companies joined the alliance, he could control over 40% of the world's deposits and determine prices on the global market.
The merger of Uralkali with Silvinit significantly increased the chances of such an agreement, but then a scandal erupted between the two countries. The Russian side announced its withdrawal from the partnership with Belaruskali and the transition to independent sales of products, which caused a sharp drop in market prices. When the general director Vladislav Baumgertner went to Minsk to settle the issue at the invitation of Prime Minister Mikhail Myasnikovich, on August 26, 2012 he was arrested on charges of $ 100 million in damage to Belaruskali and the BKK. Then, the Investigative Committee of Belarus, at the request of President Alexander Lukashenko, put Kerimov on the wanted list.
The rise of the Belarusian Suvorovites
The condition for Baumgertner to be released and the conflict to end was the departure of the owner of Nafta from Uralkali, and Karimov surrendered. Together with him, Galchev, Mamut and Nesis left the Uralkali. The largest part of the block of shares (21.75%) was acquired by the Onexim group of Mikhail Prokhorov, 5.82% went to Lukoil's daughter Vagit Alekperov and 12.25% to the Chinese Chengdong Investment Corporation. The main beneficiary, as subsequent events showed, was the owner of the Uralchem nitrogen fertilizer concern Dmitry Mazepin, who bought a 19.9% stake for 125.8 billion rubles. It was this graduate of the Minsk Suvorov School, not without reason, who was called the keeper of foreign accounts Lukashenko and a trusted intermediary between him and the Russian business community. By the way, if Lukashenko personally won from the transfer of Uralkali to new hands, then his country received nothing. The sale through BPC was stopped, the company went bankrupt, Mazepin prefers to trade through Latvia, for which he acquired terminals in Riga and Ventspils. Paradoxically, the future emigrant Rybolovlev proved to be a great sovereign, preferred allied Belarus to NATO, and invested in the Baltic transport terminal of the seaport of St. Petersburg.
Mazepin's biography was in no way disposed to mediation. Citizenship of both Russia and Belarus. Two higher educations - at the Economics Department of MGIMO and at the St. Petersburg Institute of Economics and Management. Serving as a military translator in Afghanistan almost automatically guaranteed useful contacts among the military and in the organs. Finally, no less useful relations among the largest businessmen that Mazepin made while working as vice president of the Tyumen Oil Company, president of the Sibur petrochemical company, general director of Kuzbassugol and deputy chairman of the Russian Federal Property Fund. If the “father” wanted to see such a person in “Uralkali”, his run over to Karimov is quite logical.
No less logical was the change in the chairman of the board of directors. Voloshin's place was taken by the general director of the state defense corporation Rostec Sergey Chemezov. KGB veteran Chemezov is one of the president’s most trusted associates. It is not surprising that, in addition to his main work, Sergey Viktorovich regularly turns out to be a “watchman” at strategic enterprises such as KamAZ and Aeroflot. It is believed that Mikhail Prokhorov, who has a common business with the Chemezov family, is also supporting the appointment (the wife of the head of Rostec is a shareholder of IFC Bank owned by Onexim).
However, today the figure of Sergey Chemezov, who has come under the sanction, is considered as one of the sources of Uralkali's problems. The prospectus for the company's five-year Eurobonds says that this fact may affect the ability and willingness of counterparties to deal with Uralkali. In January 2020, it became known that Uralchem and Uralkali were unable to agree on the acquisition of shares in Brazilian fertilizer producer Fertilizantes Heringer, despite previous agreements.
By the way, Prokhorov did not win anything from Chemezov’s appointment. The collapse of several commercial projects (Yo-Mobile and Optogan LED factory) and political (Just Cause and Civil Platform parties) projects facilitated the exclusion of Onexim from Uralkali. Most of the shares (20.5%) were bought by the Cyprus offshore Rinsoco Trading Co. Limited, owned by a friend of Mazepin at the Suvorov School, a citizen of Belarus Dmitry Lobyak. 20.3% of the company is owned by Uralchem Mazepin. More than half of the company's capital - 56.22% - falls on the quasi-treasury package on the balance sheet of Uralkali-Technologies. Almost the entire quasi-treasury package (55.26%) from the end of 2017 was pledged to Sberbank under a loan for Dmitry Lobyak and several Uralchem structures. In 2016, the businessman attracted this money to buy 20% of Uralkali from Onexim. It seems that it is difficult for shareholders and Uralkali to service debts. However, they manage to get new loans from state-owned banks.
It is known that before the end of 2019, Uralkali was supposed to repay a loan of about $ 500 million to Sberbank. But I got a new one, right under the New, 2020, year! Uralchem plans to direct a loan of $ 3.9 billion to improve its loan portfolio and optimize its repayment schedule, as well as to implement an investment program. Thus, no matter how statements about the investment strategy look (the prospectus for the placement of Eurobonds of the company says that by 2025 Uralkali will increase potash fertilizer production by 23% compared to 2018 - from 11.5 million to 15 million tons; the company's capital expenditures in 2020–2025 will amount to $ 3 billion), the structure of Dmitry Mazepin more and more resembles a classic pyramid.
Hard times “Uralkali”
While Mazepin equips the ports of Latvia, and Rybolovlev - the islands of Greece, hard times have come for Uralkali. Net loss in 2018 amounted to 8.85 billion rubles. (The result is especially unpleasant against the background of 2017 profit of 50, 86 billion rubles.). The reasons are known: the depreciation of the ruble, the need to service previously taken loans and the decline in global demand for potash fertilizers due to a decrease in palm oil production in Southeast Asia and adverse weather in North America.
Belaruskali completed last year with a net profit of 819.58 million Belarusian rubles. The corporation strengthens its position at the expense of China, in which certain circles in Minsk see a more attractive partner than Russia. It is already not only about export, but also about the opening of a joint venture, such as a potassium nitrate production plant, the construction of which was launched in Minsk together with the Chinese company Migao. Having squeezed Mazepin out of India and most of China, and squeezing Canadians in New Zealand, Belaruskali partially provoked the merger of PotashCorp and Agrium Inc and aroused investor interest. In particular, conditionally Russian (the owner of 91.67% of the shares is the Dutch SovCo Capital Partners B.V.) Sovcombank provided a loan to the Belarusian concern in the amount of € 100 million.
Canadians, despite the transition to the Belarusians of some New Zealand buyers, finished last year with a profit of $ 3.57 billion. If Uralkali previously made a breakthrough by teaming with Silvinit, then from January 1, 2018, Canadians went along the same path. By draining PotashCorp and Agrium Inc. into the Nutrien Ltd supercorporation, they have established control over 20% of the global potash fertilizer market. The main danger for Nutrien is the threat of falling under the ice rink of the US trade war with China, because of which the Celestial Empire’s duties on Canadian potassium can increase significantly.
In the conditions of such fierce competition, Uralkali has to reduce production: in January – July 2019 by 3% –170 thousand tons, and by the end of the year –– by 150–300 thousand. Despite the peppy reports of the official website, this affects workers' well-being. Under Rybolovlev, 13.5 thousand people worked here, now about 12 thousand, and as a result, no more than 11 thousand should remain. On the thematic site, users complain that they pay extremely little for hard and dangerous work and that incomes are not growing: the fastener is 5- of the first category, as he received 30 thousand seven years ago, so he receives.
Since December 2018 alone, 14 people have died in Uralkali and Uralchem. It is typical that after the death of 9 miners in a fire at the Solikamsk-3 mine on December 22, 2018, the master's son Nikita Mazepin defiantly did not cancel the luxury party scheduled for December 23 at the Moscow club Secret Room. The event ended with riding around the night capital in cars, to which Mazepin, the youngest big hunter. Only one of his races on fireballs cost 38 million rubles, some of which were allocated by a generous dad. Compensation to the families of the victims at Solikamsk-3 amounted to 27 million.