Victor Vekselberg launched a cucumber in the "Valley of Vegetables"

The Renova group of Viktor Vekselberg decided to leave the business of growing vegetables in greenhouses. The complexes, in the construction of which they promised to invest 25 billion rubles, will be sold to the profile player.
Origin source
The Federal Antimonopoly Service received a request from Greenhouse LLC for the acquisition of shares in the authorized capital of Greenhouses of the Regions LLC, follows from the materials on the agency’s website. The service has a month to review the application.

The beneficiaries of Greenhouse LLC created in July this year - Alexander and Dmitry Lashin, as well as Igor and Maxim Sokolov - are known as founders and owners of the Valley of Vegetables agricultural group. Greenhouses of the Regions is a project of the owner of the Renova group, Viktor Vekselberg.

Dmitry Lashin confirmed to RBC that the “Valley of Vegetables” intends to acquire a stake in “Greenhouses of the Regions”.

About why Vekselberg decided to sell greenhouses and how profitable this business is, in the RBC review.

Transaction subject

Renova entered the greenhouse business two years ago: in February 2017, the group announced its intention to build 100 hectares of greenhouses in key regions of its presence. Then Vekselberg at a forum in Sochi signed an agreement of intent with the Sverdlovsk region, the Komi Republic, Perm Territory and Chuvashia. Renova planned to build greenhouses precisely in these regions, including in order to provide fresh products to employees of its own enterprises, said Anatoly Kutsenko, president of the National Fruit and Vegetable Union. The group planned to invest 25 billion rubles in the construction of greenhouses in four regions.

The construction of greenhouses, according to Kutsenko, has not yet been completed. Already at the end of 2018, Renova reduced its stake in Greenhouses of the Regions LLC: according to the register, now the structure of Renova owns only 49%. Control over the greenhouse business passed to the company of the former top managers of the group: JSC Kompleksprom became the owner of 51% of the Greenhouses of the Regions. Her beneficiary is Svetlana Klimentieva.

Transaction participant

The Valley of Vegetables, as indicated on its website, is a group of greenhouse enterprises. They are located in the Dankovsky district of the Lipetsk region. Cucumbers, tomatoes, other vegetables and salad are grown in the so-called fifth-generation greenhouses. They provide production all year round, Dmitry Lashin told RBC magazine in May 2017. Now, according to him, 90% of all greenhouse complexes in Russia are of the “fourth generation”: they work without winter light, so vegetables can only be grown in them from March to October. And in the production season, traditional greenhouses encounter overheating - you can deal with this problem with the help of the air vents located on the roof, but through them insects that eat plants enter the greenhouses. “Fifth generation” greenhouses cool themselves - “Valley of Vegetables”, Lashin claimed, began to use such greenhouses first in Russia.

The Valley of Vegetables does not disclose its financial results. In 2017, it was only reported that the group will invest 2.9 billion rubles in the fifth turn of its greenhouses in the Lipetsk region with a total area of ​​11 hectares.

The essence of the transaction

The founders of the “Valley of Vegetables” intend to buy back the majority stake in “Greenhouses of the Regions” with the goal of “strategic management” - this fits into the company's strategy for the development of the greenhouse business, Rashin explained. He did not specify the exact size of the package and the amount of the transaction. According to him, the offer to sell the asset was made by Renova itself.

Renova, as its representative said, leaves the Greenhouses of the Regions, since this investment is no longer a priority and profile for it. The representative of Renova also did not name the amount of the transaction, only noting that the achieved financial result of Greenhouses of the regions suits Renova. The SPARK database shows only the net loss of Teplitsy Regionov LLC for 2017 - 1.2 million rubles, there are no other indicators.

A source close to the deal claims that in addition to Vekselberg’s stake, Greenhouse will also buy 2% of the Greenhouses of the Regions from Kompleksprom JSC.

The buyers of Renova's share are strategic investors in the industry and one of the market leaders, a representative of Teplits of Regions said. According to him, the change of ownership is due to the fact that now the investment phase in the construction of greenhouses is coming to an end and the operational phase of business development is beginning, which requires industry expertise and in-depth knowledge of the industry.

The production of greenhouse vegetables is very sensitive to the qualifications of employees, and, having become disillusioned with the performance, some players are thinking about inviting investors who have competencies, or completely giving them this business to management, Kutsenko from the National Fruit and Vegetable Union points out.

It is planned that already in 2020, "Greenhouses of the Regions" will launch the production of vegetables in the amount of about 20-25 thousand tons, says Lashin. This may amount to one third of the current production of the Valley of Vegetables: the company expects that by the end of 2019 it will exceed 80 thousand tons.

Market outlook

Production of greenhouse vegetables in Russia is growing, states Kutsenko. In the first half of 2019, domestic greenhouses yielded about 700 thousand tons of vegetables, and by the end of 2019, production is expected to reach 1.3 million tons. For comparison: in 2018, the collection of greenhouse vegetables amounted to about 1 million tons. Most of the crops grown in greenhouses vegetables - cucumbers: at the end of 2019, they will be harvested about 650 thousand tons. Production growth is due to the commissioning of new greenhouse complexes. In total, according to the National Fruit and Vegetable Union, in 2019 it is planned to introduce 260 hectares of new greenhouses, in 2020 - 250 hectares.

Active investments in the construction of greenhouses in Russia began after the introduction of sanctions in 2014 and a ban on the import of vegetables and fruits from the EU and the USA. State support also contributed to this: in particular, the Ministry of Agriculture reimbursed investors for 20% of capital costs for the construction of greenhouse complexes.
Large non-core investors came to the greenhouse business: for example, the son of billionaire Roman Abramovich Arkady invested in the construction of greenhouses. One of his projects with a declared total area of ​​200 hectares is located in the Belgorod region, the construction of another large greenhouse complex with an area of ​​about 300 hectares was planned in the Far East.

State support allowed a sharp breakthrough in the development of domestic vegetable growing, recognizes the founder of the agricultural holding Belaya Dacha Viktor Semenov. According to him, domestic producers have completely succeeded in replacing the country's needs for the import of cucumbers, but 30% of the tomatoes still need to be imported from abroad, and it will not be possible to completely replace them yet.

As soon as the flow of money from the state began to dry up, they began to leave the greenhouse business, noted in the analytical company KPMG, analyzing the five-year results of pro-embargo. In April 2019, it became known that Abramovich’s company refused to build greenhouses in the Far East. The project was hindered by both the lack of necessary infrastructure and the government’s refusal to reimburse part of the capital costs of greenhouses. In 2019, the compensation of capital costs for the construction of greenhouse complexes ceased, Semenov notes. According to him, the greenhouse business is not the most profitable, but given the high risks in the greenhouse economy, "many can not withstand the blow."