Plant for Gutseriev
The CEO of one of the largest oil refineries in the south of Russia - the Afipsky Oil Refinery in the Krasnodar Territory (owned by Vladimir Kogan’s Oil and Gas Industry) - was appointed Sergey Krashukuk, who for the last two and a half years was headed by the Krasnodar Refinery - Krasnodar Confection, part of the Safmar group Mikhail Gutseriev. This follows from the information on the official site of the Afipsky Refinery.
"Safmar" is in the final stage of negotiations on the purchase of the Afipsky refinery, said RBC a source close to one of the parties to the transaction. Its completion may be announced already this week, the source added, close to the other side of the talks. On April 5, the Kommersant newspaper reported, citing sources, that negotiations on the fate of this plant are going on between Gutseriev and Sberbank head German Gref "in a mode of heightened secrecy." Sberbank is the key creditor of this plant: in January 2019, it became known that Neftegazindustriya even laid 100% of the Afipsky oil refinery in Sberbank.
Gutseriev can buy the plant for $ 50–60 million (including debt), a source close to Sberbank said to RBC, and a source close to one of the parties to the transaction confirmed. Kommersant also wrote that the plant could be sold for "symbolic $ 50-60 million." Representatives of Safmar and Kogan declined to comment.
Neftegazindustriya bought the Afipsky Refinery from the structures of Oleg Deripaska in 2010, and after upgrading it brought refining capacity from 2.6 million to 6 million tons of oil. The plant specializes in the production of diesel fuel and other petroleum products (gas condensate distillates, naphtha, etc.). "The management plans to build modern technological facilities, which will allow in two stages to increase the oil refining capacity from 6 million to 9 million tons per year, as well as to increase the refining depth from 77 to 93%," the plant's website says.
Russian refining is regulated by the state, so many refineries are currently unprofitable, said RBC analyst at BCS, Kirill Tachennikov. But this does not negate potential transactions: it all depends on the price of the asset and the cost of modernization, he explains. If the light output approaches 70%, the plant is more or less profitable, if less than 60%, it is exactly at a loss, the analyst explains. “RussNeft” Gutseriev has no refining. The purchase of an oil refinery will allow the company to process its own oil and enter new markets, he concludes.
Did not cope with the maneuver
In October 2017, the plant was transferred to the management of the “New Stream” group of Dmitry Mazurov, which controls the Antipinsky Oil Refinery (9 million tons per year) in the Tyumen Region. The management is carried out through the Kersi Treiding Ltd. trading company, which is close to Novy Stream, which acquired a stake in Afipsky Oil Refinery from Neftegazindustrii, Interfax reported. The representative of the "New Stream" declined to comment.
"New Stream" is now itself in negotiations to sell its main asset, the Antipinsky Oil Refinery, due to the accumulated financial problems. The total debt of the group exceeds $ 3 billion, the main creditor is Sberbank, which has already introduced its managers to the New Stream management bodies, received a “golden share” of the Antipinsky Oil Refinery and started looking for buyers. According to Kommersant, the largest Azerbaijani company SOCAR claims for this plant, as well as for the producing assets of the group - Mogutovskoye, parts of the Gremyachevsky and Vorontsovskoye oil fields in the Orenburg region. According to the newspaper, it is ready to pay a “symbolic amount,” but it will take the asset along with the debt. The Azerbaijani company then stated that “they regularly analyze markets, considering the available investment opportunities,” but there is “no investment solution” for the Antipinsky Oil Refinery and fields in Russia.
A source close to one of the parties to the deal confirmed RBC talks with SOCAR. And Gref said then to RBC: “I do not confirm the deal.” But he did not specify the details.
Problems at the Antipinsky Oil Refinery arose for several reasons. The plant attracted a large loan from Sberbank in dollars until 2014, when, due to sanctions and cheap oil, the ruble depreciated by about half. Interest on the loan has increased, the debt itself has become too expensive to maintain, said one of the sources of RBC. Sberbank considers the tax maneuver and the “ineffective work of owners” to be the causes of problems, said Deputy Chairman of the Board of the Bank Anatoly Popov on February 13.
In 2015–2017, the so-called big tax maneuver took place in the Russian oil industry, as a result of which the tax subsidy for the average refinery decreased from $ 16 to $ 6 per barrel, reminds chief economist of Vygon Consulting Sergey Yezhov. The tax maneuver did not affect the Antipinsky Oil Refinery too much: the refinery basically remained operationally profitable, he points out. But last year, because of high oil prices and a cheap ruble, oil companies sold fuel on the domestic market with a serious discount to the export alternative, and this could seriously affect the plant's economy, the expert concludes.