The railway operator Transoil was under US sanctions along with other companies of Gennady Timchenko. The share of its structures in Transoil is 80%. The billionaire did not start out of this business, as he did with the global trading group Gunvor. Transoil, unlike it, operates in the ruble zone, and four sanctions years have not destroyed its business - the company retains the status of Russia's largest oil and petroleum products carrier by rail, invests and pays dividends, the chairman of the board of directors told "Vedomosti" Transoyla »Igor Romashov. According to him, the company is more worried about the continued departure of cargo from the railway and the uncertainty with the new Target model of the freight rail freight market.
- Oil this year continued to go up in general, the price of Brent in May reached almost $ 80 per barrel. How does this affect your business?
- The high price of oil is a plus for replenishing the Russian budget. But there is a minus. In countries whose economies are closely linked to the price of oil, when it rises in price, as a rule, internal technological development slows down: the treasury is replenished - it relaxes. When the price decreases, it makes one think - first and foremost the industry - about how to live in this period. Therefore, it is more correct when there is a balance, a stable price, which would be between "not very high" and "not very low". Experts call this price: $ 60-70 per barrel.
As a representative of the railway transport, I would say that the volumetric load factors are affected by many factors: the volume of oil refining, the release of certain types of products (you know about the program for increasing the depth of processing). The price of oil is of great importance, but not decisive.
- How much, in your opinion, will the rise in oil prices last?
- It is necessary to consider a combination of factors. Our country has quota agreements in the framework of OPEC, which are designed to balance the cost of oil. This approach allows the oil industry to exist in all countries at the level of normal profitability, profitability, filling budgets. And at the same time, do not bring the market to a surplus, which, of course, will immediately put pressure on the cost of oil. The price is influenced by a combination of political factors. The volume of consumption is also unstable. In this situation, it is difficult to assess what price will be in some long-term period. I hope that it will maintain a stable level of the current moment.
- During what period? This year?
- Hard to tell. I am by no means the greatest analyst in matters of changing the price of raw materials, I have not worked in the oil industry for a long time. But I think that for a period of three years. If there are no extraordinary factors that will take the price in one direction or another.
- In the range of $ 60-70 per barrel?
- Yes, somewhere like that.
Oil leaves the railway in a pipe
- In 2017 the total loading in the network of Russian Railways grew by 3.2% to 1.26 million tons, while the transportation of oil and oil products, on the contrary, decreased by 0.2% to 235.45 million tons. With what, do you think, is the fall connected?
- This is a trend not the last year, but, probably, five or seven years, during which there was a decrease in the oil base in the total volume of loading on the railway. Here, too, influenced by a combination of factors. First of all, in my opinion, the change in technical regulations affected: the industry is being modernized, increasing the depth of refining at the plants. The main oil products transported by rail are fuel oil and diesel fuel. Previously, fuel oil prevailed with a share of 70%. After the modernization of the refinery, the structure has changed: 60% is diesel fuel, and 40% is fuel oil or derivatives thereof; Petroleum coke is a new product that replaces fuel oil. The share of fuel oil decreased, due to the fact that the production of the product itself decreased. As for the diesel, it used to be a low-sulfur fuel, and everything else was carried by the railroad. Today the entire diesel has become low-sulfur, it is homogeneous - accordingly, the pipe allows you to take all this fuel. This is the first reason for the withdrawal of volume [diesel fuel] from the railway.
The second is tariff formation. Tariffs for oil [on the network of Russian Railways] were constantly growing, indexed, taking into account cross-subsidization - oil cargo actually always subsidized goods of lower classes, in particular coal. This made oil companies - including taking into account the fall in oil prices, tax maneuver - look for cheaper ways of delivery. In this regard, pipeline transport won the railroad due to a lower price. These factors are now present and affect the volumetric indexes of transportation of oil and oil products. Plus, the volume of oil refining has decreased.
- And on all types of transport transportation of oil products as a whole has not decreased?
- No, it did not decrease, if you take the statistics of the oil industry. The volume of production for the last 5-7 years as a whole has grown (I do not take the last 1.5-2 years because of the limitation of production under the agreement with OPEC).
- What was your result in 2017?
"We had slightly better indices compared to the network-wide. In 2017, our transportation amounted to 62.5 million tons - an increase of 1.1%. If you take a five-year period, the transportation increased by 12.3%, and on the network - decreased by 6%.
- What are the expectations for loading this year?
- While we plan to maintain the level of 2017, perhaps with a small, 1-2% growth. And then we think that this task is extremely ambitious. The trend remains that pipeline transport, competing with the road, wins at the expense of the price. In the near future, the Komsomolsky [oil refinery] plant will be joined, the trial loading of the pipeline has already started. And this is again a loss. Therefore, unfortunately, the trend is as it is. Both we, and "Russian Railways" undertake efforts to maintain the volume [of loading].
- And what are the ways? Game tariffs?
- Now it's not the 90's. (Smiles.) Nobody plays tariffs.
"Well, how about competition?"
- Yes, competition. A "game" implies something different. Firstly, as you know, the government adopted certain decisions last year: a long-term tariff program, long-term tariffs, a mechanism for their adjustment "inflation minus 0.1%." This allows both railwaymen and oil workers to build long-term relationships. Previously, the oil industry and we as users of the infrastructure of Russian Railways lived in a misunderstanding of what indexation of tariffs would be. In this situation, it was very difficult to negotiate with customers, because they are also constantly looking for themselves for an optimal price and quality of transport service. Prices they constantly fluctuate, the situation is also changing, and they are interested in a clear understanding of this or that route - pipeline or railway - in the long term.
- Do you plan to increase your tanker fleet in view of the forecasted growth in loading?
- For this, it is not necessary to increase the park. This is a matter of efficiency: as with the growth in volumes, transportation is provided at a lower cost and a smaller fleet.
Transoil has a comprehensive program of measures: reducing downtime for loading and unloading, reducing traffic is a huge layer of work to provide a quality service for the customer. At the same time, you need to optimize your own costs.
Perhaps someone else is left in their heads that oil workers and oil carriers earn fabulous money. The profitability of this business is constantly shrinking for various reasons. Today, who works effectively, he is competitive, preserves or increases volumes in the market. In general, it is necessary to understand that the volumes fall, and the number of tanks is reduced at a lower rate. While the write-off has occurred (due to the limitation of the service life of freight cars in Russia and the cancellation of the possibility of their extension), "the market still has a surplus.
Of course, we can purchase rolling stock, if required. But this happens if the technological reserves are exhausted.
- What are your reserves of increasing the loading while maintaining the park?
- Now our park - about 51 000 cars, 28 000 of them own, the rest is in control. The whole park is involved. There are fluctuations - the summer season, when part of the volume goes to the river. Still some kind of conjuncture swings, when, for example, the plant stands on prevention. But there is no need to purchase just a tank. If we work on a contract with some understandable volumes, then, of course, we will provide it with rolling stock - our own or leased. Reserves, I repeat, there is - both here and in the market. The current surplus of tanks [in the country] in the peak summer period can reach 20,000. These are the wagons that are, but are not involved in transportation. There are many reasons. For example, weather conditions, waiting for ships: terminals are full and can not physically take more, as a result, the wagons are waiting for their turn. But this is our concern. When we work with a client, we sign a contract with him, we say: "Everything, from now on you forget what a railway is. This is our problem. From you, we are waiting for the provision of those volumes that are prescribed in the contract. "
- How do you think, how long will the surplus last? When will the balance be, harmony?
- In April the transport balance was discussed at the RSPP Commission, which would allow the existing volume to be distributed among various modes of transport, without allowing price competition. In the meantime, the trend is such that the cargo leaves with RZD. The connection of the Komsomolsk refinery to the pipeline transport system, according to our estimates, will release a tank farm in the amount of 3000-5000. They will be left without work. The surplus is preserved, while the tanks have a service life.
The average age of the Transoyla Park is 14.5 years with a maximum service life of 32 years. This is younger than the average market (above 16 years). Everyone has a different strategy. Someone picked up those cars that there is, just to earn. As a horse - what it is there to serve, I drive it, I drive while running. Has fallen, has thrown out, has gone further. And someone, Transoil, in particular, invested money in the improvement of the park, the development of auxiliary infrastructure. Crises also come and go. Some at this time make respites, "clean feathers," and are preparing for possible outbursts, the appearance of volumes, etc.
- How did it affect, how will dieselgate affect your business in the future? Large countries of the European Union, for example, want to reduce or completely abandon diesel motor fuel.
- We do not feel it. We rather feel the dieselgate from the point of view of interspecific competition - between the railway transport and the oil product pipeline. (Smiling.) Most of the diesel that is being produced goes into the pipe. But in general, from personal experience I will say: when you come to Europe, everything is splashed on diesel engines. Nobody runs to rent them and buy a gasoline car. Everyone looks at the economy. It is in Moscow that many people go to "Gelendvagen" and similar cars. In Europe you will rarely see them. Not because there are less well-off people live, but simply people know how to count money.
How many tanks do you need?
- Recently, Neftetransservice said that it became the largest operator of railroad tank cars in property, having bought a fleet of cars from OTEKO (14,400 cisterns). How did you take this deal? The first place in terms of cargo transportation you save. Do you regret losing the first place to the size of the park?
- In our business, it is not the quantity of tanks that is important, but the trust of our customers and, of course, the volumes that we carry. Therefore, we are more concerned with the management effectiveness than the total number of the park. Probably, Neftetransservice for itself considered it proper to acquire this company and understands how to use this asset, I'm talking about the scale effect.
"Maybe they expect a surge in loading?"
"It's better to ask them."
- At the end of 2015, the ratio of own and leased fleet of cisterns was 65 to 35%. What proportion now?
- Now we have deviated somewhat. But at the same time we believe that such a ratio allows us to feel comfortable in the market. Allows you to respond to fluctuations that occur. And, if necessary, either increase or reduce the park.
- You will not have 100% of your own tanks?
- No. This is not necessary. In any case, to us. Perhaps, Neftetransservis set such a task for itself.
- Do you plan to update the tank fleet, including through M & A transactions?
- We produce planned replacements. A balanced policy, a natural retirement, a replacement for a more young park occurs all the time. Just the scale of these acquisitions is not great - the park is already young.
- That is, manufacturers should not be sad - orders from you will be?
- We do not have contracts with car manufacturers now.
- And how do you update?
- We mainly buy them on the market.
- Do you buy cisterns or players with their park?
Not only transportation
- Throughout its existence, Transoil has constantly expanded its business lines: transportation, transshipment, repair, own locomotives. What is your group of companies now? Do we know everything about you?
"Yes, you all know, of course." (Smiling.) It's hard for us to hide anything. If we drove 1 million tons in the forests and fields, then we could hide something, and so we are in sight, we carry quite a large volume. We have a young park, we make the necessary investments. We have our own car repair depot "Kupino" - we are consistently investing in its development. When we bought it in 2008, it was a dying enterprise, RZD could not load it, given the distance from large settlements. Although it is a city-forming in its region (the depot of the car repair company Kupino is located on the West Siberian Railway - Vedomosti). The depot was falling apart, the workers were leaving. Today it is the most modern depot with new equipment, with 100% load (can repair over 500 rolling stock units a month. - Vedomosti). People have returned, they are working, a large-scale social program is being implemented. In general, Transoil invests heavily in social projects in the regions in which we operate. We have our own locomotive fleet, the machinists - by the way, we are the only ones in Russia who do not lease them from the Russian Railways: they are in the staff of a specialized subsidiary. We are a holding group that includes all the blocks and directions that allow us to provide a huge range of services that are in demand and are needed by our customers today.
Our business began with carrier activity, in the late 1990's - early 2000's. There was a shortage in the MPS system [the Ministry of Railways] after the collapse of the Soviet Union. At the Ministry of Railways, which at that time contained the so-called inventory park, there were huge problems with financial resources. It was decided to attract private investments to reduce the burden on the state in the matter of renewal of rolling stock. The necessary conditions were created, investment came. And there was a service as a whole - to provide the rolling stock. Now the time for the provision of wagons is almost gone. Even in conditions of surplus, nobody cares about the car as such. Everyone is interested in a quality integrated delivery service. To provide such a comprehensive service, Transoil must have inside itself all the mechanisms, tools that would allow us to be more competitive in quality, in value, and so on.
"Do you own everything?" Is there a desire to use outsourcing?
"Our business is built on the market-monopoly relationship." And most of the services are a monopoly service. Accordingly, the cost, quality of this service is not always satisfied with "Transoil". Therefore, what we can do on our own, providing a safety cushion, we do. We also work with contractors. We have a fairly balanced policy.
- What is missing in the current design of your business? What would you like to add?
- On the one hand, everything suits us from the point of view of balance. The main thing that we would like to see is a stable cargo base and a predictable regulatory policy. Then we can talk about some new strategy. With the current volume, we are balanced. But for development we are looking for other types of activities, for this reason, for example, we are developing transport in such a promising direction as petrochemicals.
- How has the revenue and structure of your revenues changed over the past five years? What services bring the most profit?
- In 2017, the revenue of the group was at the level of 86.5 billion rubles. The structure is preserved - it is transport and logistics activity. The rest is a security service, transactions within the group.
- Do you want to bring these internal services to the market?
- The service of locomotive traction is spelled out in the law, but it is not actually there. We have a monopoly, which owns most or almost all of the locomotives, which renders exclusively the service of transportation. Therefore, the service of locomotive traction is, unfortunately, not yet developed.
- Who are your main customers now?
- Practical all major Russian oil companies.
- How much was invested in the development of Transoil?
- About 30 billion rubles.
- Which implemented projects shot, and which ones did not justify themselves, in your opinion?
- We shot all the projects. No project was not, in which we would invest, and then shut down. We have a tough approach to investment. Before you invest in anything, everything is seriously worked out and calculated. Thank God, mistakes have not yet been made.
- Are you attracting external consultants or are you calculating risks yourself?
- Of course, we attract. But still the main work is carried out inside.
- Are you satisfied with everything in Transoil's business?
- On the one hand, of course, yes. But on the other hand, if everything suited, we would not have developed. If we sat, rested with whiskey and a cigar, then the business would begin to stagnate. If there is no constant movement forward, if there is no understanding of goals and objectives, then, accordingly, there is no incentive for development. It's good that Transoil has this. We are constantly developing, moving forward, and this provides a certain advantage over other companies.
Money for the investment program
- What investment projects are currently being implemented? Recently, you bought eight new electric locomotives from Transmashholding.
- As you know, RZD has completed electrification on the site of Kirishi-Ust-Luga. I changed my own technology, which led to the need to replace the old diesel locomotive with electric locomotives. This allowed us to increase the weight of the train.
- What did you do with diesel locomotives? Have you written it off?
- No, they went to other directions. For example, in the southern direction a diesel locomotive is used. Considering that the total increase [of the transportation in 2017] was due to the southern directions, we increased the number of locomotives used there - diesel locomotives in particular.
- And how much did you spend on the purchase of new electric locomotives?
- Investments of about 1.5 billion rubles.
- What other investment projects do you have?
- We are engaged in the construction of new sites for repair and maintenance services - at loading and unloading stations. Investments - about 5 billion rubles. This will optimize our technological processes. We continue to invest in the modernization of the car depot. For example, we make a camera for exterior painting of tanks. We invest in solutions that improve the quality and reliability of cars.
- What are the sources of financing for your investment program?
- Basically, it's own funds, the rest - the means of banks. The proportion is about 60% to 40%.
- Do you plan to place shares or bonds?
- Do you think the sanctions company can do this? (Smiling.) In fact, we have enough of the tools that we have.
- What is the level of debt burden for Transoil? How has it changed in five years?
- Net debt / EBITDA ratio is close to zero. The level changed, but for a short period. For example, when the wagons were purchased.
- That is, the loans that you are attracting are short-term loans?
- That's right.
- Are you planning to increase the debt load?
- Not yet.
Sanctions did not frighten
- What did the "Transoil" group have to give up because of the fact that it got on the sanctions list, which projects were frozen?
"We did not have to give up anything.
- It's amazing.
- What's so surprising about it? We do not get dollars, do not invest dollars. We work in the ruble zone within the Russian Federation. Who can prevent us in our country, which Americans?
- Well, maybe the choice of counterparties was reduced?
- That did not happen. We have all Russian customers. We continue to work in the former regime.
- How often do you communicate with Gennady Timchenko? Has his participation in business increased amid American sanctions?
- I communicate with the shareholder as much as necessary from the point of view of management. Gennady Nikolayevich is not engaged in direct business management. He has the functions of a shareholder. He deals with strategic issues, supervises the activities through communication with the board of directors.
- Do you usually have the same points of view or argue often?
- To a greater extent coincide, as the company develops, moves and achieves certain results. (Smiles.) And sanctions are not a reason to communicate more often. In any case, this is a matter of relations, including human relations. Gennady Nikolayevich is a busy person, he has many directions, and this is not only business, but also social activities: in sport, the Olympic Committee and so on. Our communication is not built solely with respect to Transoyl. I head boards of directors in other companies. One of the most important projects over the past three years is the construction of large-scale stadiums in Nizhny Novgorod and Volgograd for hosting matches in the 2018 World Cup.
- About 7% of Transoil belongs to the co-owner of Globaltrans and Global Ports, Andrei Filatov. Does he plan to increase his share or, on the contrary, leave the company?
"It's more correct than Andrei Vasilyevich himself to ask about this." I do not have information about such intentions.
- Among your other shareholders are the structures of Andrei Bokarev and Iskandar Mahmudov, co-owners of Transmashholding (they have 13% of Transoil). Are they still interested in your business? If so, what is their interest? The Transmashholding Group produces passenger cars that you do not use. There is a cross-over of interests on locomotives - you use them, but you can not count on significant deliveries for you to Transmashholding, because this segment is monopolized by Russian Railways.
- Why do we need to constantly look for links, intersections? There are people who have money. There is a company that works well as a commercial structure. Business people met and decided to enter the business, invest, buy a part in the Transoil. Bought, and, it seems to me, they are very satisfied. In general, not wrong in the direction of their investments. Andrei Bokarev and Iskandar Makhmudov in the transport business for a long time, as you know. And they are quite well versed in the transport and logistics sphere. Are the largest shippers of coal. They themselves are engaged in transportation. Perhaps they found it interesting to diversify and engage not only in coal, but also participate in the business of transporting oil and oil products. They made a decision for themselves, and, I repeat, I am sure that they were not mistaken.
- That is, the company pays dividends regularly?
"As long as we pay dividends."
The target market model is still on the way
- The conclusion to the market of private traction is one of the goals of the reform of Russian Railways. But this has not happened so far - private companies can use locomotives in their own train units only on limited routes. What is slowing down the process? Reluctance of RZD to rush things?
- It can not be said that RZD does not want this. This opportunity has been discussed for a long time, since 2003. You have been co-author of the first Target Model of the Freight Rail Transport Market (DEM), which was adopted in 2007 and operated until 2010. Let us recall the history, goals and objectives of railway reform. Appropriate resolutions were issued, a program for reforming the railway transport was adopted. The reform began in 2003. A certain part of the way was passed. This separation of regulatory and economic activities, which combines the MPS. Economic functions have departed the established Russian Railways, regulatory - to the Ministry of Transport. The market for investing in the carload economy was opened. This had its effect: the volume of investments for the entire period since the beginning of the rolling stock acquisition reform exceeded 1 trillion rubles. And today in Russia is one of the youngest parks in the post-Soviet space. But, unfortunately, further difficulties arose.
The program of reform was prescribed (and so far the document has not changed): we must get the carrier's market. But, unfortunately, this stopped. According to the first model, it was necessary to determine this by 2010 - where we will go, in the competition of carriers or we will work within the framework of the monopoly entity. This did not happen, and disputes are shifted from year to year, from one version of the DTM to another (another version was submitted to the government in the spring of 2018 - Vedomosti).
What is a model, what is this document? This is a description of a certain target market condition, which we want to receive as a result of specific actions. If it is a model that implies monopoly activity in the sphere of transportation and infrastructure, this is one way of development. Accordingly, the program of achievement is built in a certain direction. If we say that we are going to the market of carriers, accordingly, the infrastructure remains a monopoly subject, and transportation activity is a market segment, competitive. This is a completely different program of steps, which should lead to this. This is the division of infrastructure, transportation, locomotive components at the technological, accounting and accounting levels within the framework of the Russian Railways holding to understand what is included in the cost of traction and infrastructure. This will clearly determine the correctness of its price. And now this is the competition in the transportation segment, which was supposed to give a certain effect, including in the form of lower transport costs. Because competition always leads to this - more or less. The struggle for the client, for the goods, compels the company to compete.
Now there is no incentive for competition. Because all this activity is monopolized. Therefore, with each discussion of the model, a dispute begins. So it was in 2010, extended to 2015. Now 2018, and after 2015 there is no model at all, but there is a discussion. And for some reason everyone believes that DEM is a kind of dogma that should include all the problems of the market at once. Do not put such hopes on her. We, on the contrary, try to include everything from system questions to operational problems, lack of rolling stock, locomotive traction, heavy traffic, etc. These are not tasks of DEM.
- Is it important for you to preserve the monopoly or, conversely, many private traders? Or is the goal important?
- Of course, I'm for the competition. But its emergence requires great, deep and pragmatic work. In any case, the task of reform is not to harm, not to do worse. In the railway industry this is of the utmost importance. This is the circulatory system of the country. She should not be hammered somewhere, thrombosed. We must prepare for the experiment [to create private freight carriers], create tariff solutions. To conduct the experiment not only in a calculated way, on paper, but also in practice. Attempts by the previous leadership of the monopoly to do this on the dead ends, the low-income - this is from the series "get, sign". But we understand that the Railways have cross-financing at the expense of various classes of cargo, and here "one and a half stations" and three cars a week, take it, work and show the economy. Why profanity deal with? To shift from the project to the draft proposals, which knowingly doom the experiment to failure? Here is the penultimate version of the DEM, which the Ministry of Economic Development has developed, in principle, all arranged and was agreed upon. But after it was discussed and returned for revision, the Ministry of Transport was involved, which decided to make another version of the model quickly, without broad discussion. This of course, outraged the market. Since then, most of it is not perceived. Brought to the government. But the controversy continues and, I feel, will continue.
- Can you estimate the capacity of the private traction market?
- This is an expensive pleasure. I can not say that there is a queue of people willing to invest in this segment. Moreover, it is still difficult to assess the prospects without the approved rules of the game.
- How do you assess the current state support of the industry? What do you ask for in addition? For example, about subsidies for the purchase of tanks?
- We do not ask for state support when buying tanks. We buy everything in the market.
Heavyweights will weigh heavier
- What do you think about the plans for the development of heavy traffic in Russia by rail? Wagons with a load of 25 tons per axle are now massively used, the next stage will be the introduction of 27 tons. How necessary are such cars for the tank segment?
- Heavy traffic is not news, not know-how. When I worked as a dispatcher and on duty departments, my shift was advanced in the Leningrad-Moscow direction, then we regularly sent trains weighing from 6000 to 10 000 tons. Today this is called an innovation, with a lot of questions. It's just a car with a heavy load, which, in my opinion, does not always adequately affect the state of the road. The strategy to increase the load on the axle is not the most successful, in my opinion. If we are to follow the path of innovation, we need to improve the performance of the car by reducing the tare weight, that is, in general, the car is lighter, and it could be loaded more. At the same time, the load on the axle should not at least increase. Today what is happening: gondolas are a universal composition, it can transport various types of cargo. Tanks - a specialized rolling stock: fuel oil is transported, and gasoline on the way back does not fill. And in gondola cars you can ship everything. This provided a loading resource. The innovative car is transformed into a specialized rolling stock. In particular, the volume of preferences granted to him does not allow him to work as a universal rolling stock. There is a discount for empty mileage, which reduces the loading resource as a whole on the network. This is a serious problem.
At the same time, we have another canvas, it was not originally envisaged for a load of 25 tons or, as is now said, 27 tons per axle. There is an example of the Estonian railway. They were bought by Americans, driven by heavy locomotives, 31 tons per axle, and all destroyed, Estonia had to reconstruct the network. And look who bought 25 tons in Russia? Basically, these are captive manufacturers. And they still ask to increase the tariffs for truly universal cars, whose share today exceeds 90%.
- In "Transoil" you work for about 10 years - first as CEO, then as Chairman of the Board of Directors. In a pause between these stages, the Federal Agency for Railway Transport was running, and they worked as a vice-president of Rosneft. Who do you see yourself in 5-10 years? Is there a desire to change the profile again?
"Time will tell, fate will dispose of." What is the point of making a guess even for five years? Everything will depend on many circumstances: my personal views, the situation around, the tasks ... This has always been the case. Do you think when I, for example, was a general director, I slept and saw when I would become the head of the agency? (Smiling.) I am a self-sufficient person and I can afford to do what I like, what fascinates me. And the current tasks and goals are not all resolved.