Vladimir Yevtushenkov is not allowed to finish Essentuki

The state is against the erosion of its share in the producer of the legendary mineral water.
Plans to create a public-private partnership (PPP), which should consolidate the entire production and spill of Essentuki’s water, were in jeopardy. The project is planned to be implemented on the basis of the assets of Aqua Invest Vladimir Yevtushenkov and Mikhail Yakobashvili and the state KMKR, which own the rights to 82% and 18% of the bowels of Essentuki, respectively. But the Minkavkaz raised the issue of the risks of loss of state control over resources. Failure from the project may lead to an increase in counterfeiting in the mineral water market, the industry fears.

The head of the Minkavkaz Sergey Chebotarev proposes to remove the state-owned KMKR JSC from the founders of the mineral water producer LLC Holding Aqua and stop consolidating the assets with another co-owner of the company - LLC Aqua invest. He reported this to the head of the Ministry of Economy Maxim Oreshkin (Kommersant has a copy of the letter).

Aqua Holding produces and bottles mineral water under the brands Essentuki No. 4 and No. 17, Narzan, Nagutskaya and Slavyanovskaya in the Stavropol Territory. KMKR owns 25% of the company, 74% is owned by Aqua Invest LLC, another 1% is owned by Yegor Loginov. In Aqua Invest, 33% is managed by Sistema JSV Vladimir Yevtushenkov through Sistema Telecom Assets LLC. Mikhail Yakobashvili, the son of the ex-owner of Wimm-Bill-Dann, David Yakobashvili, has the same share. Another 5% of Aqua Invest is owned by Lyudani LLC Nikita Shashkin, who is called the son-in-law of ex-presidential envoy to the North Caucasus Federal District Alexander Khloponin. The remaining 28% belongs to Gisar JSC, whose owner Valery Kovalev is indicated in the register.

As Sergey Chebotarev points out, on the Essentuki Mineral Water Market No. 4 and No. 17, there are two main users left - Aqua Invest and KMKR. Aqua Invest owns the assets of users of the Essentuki deposit of Kholod-bottling LLC and KMV-Voda LLC.

KMKR is developing the Central and Central Essentuki sections. Combining the assets of companies will be subject to antitrust laws, Mr. Chebotarev is sure. Moreover, he continues, KMKR will receive in the joint venture (JV) only 25%, which will not allow for control by the state and participate in the distribution of profits.

The fact that the consolidation of the assets of KMKR and Aqua Invest could violate the laws on protecting competition and loss of state control over the production of mineral water in the region was also reported by Attorney General Yuri Chaika to Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev (Kommersant has a copy of the letter).

Sergey Chebotarev, as an alternative, proposes to make KMKR the main user of the mineral resources of the region and create his own spill on the basis of the company.

The Minkavkaz and the Ministry of Economy did not answer questions from Kommersant. But, as follows from a letter from the deputy head of the Ministry of Economy, Oksana Tarasenko, to the first vice-premier, the head of the Ministry of Finance, Anton Siluanov (Kommersant has a copy), the Ministry of Economy advocates increasing the share of the Russian Federation in the joint venture based on Aqua Holding to at least 51%. The Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) confirmed that the transactions planned by KIAK or the Aqua Holding should be preliminarily agreed with the agency, but they cannot give an opinion on the impact on competition without petitions from companies.

CEO of Aqua Holding Sergey Lobanov emphasizes that transfer of deposits to private ownership is not discussed - only the license holder is changing. According to him, Aqua Invest is ready to transfer 82% of the Essentuki water commercial flow and three plants to the joint venture, and KMKR - only the mining infrastructure in relation to the remaining 18% of Essentuki and some other waters. At the same time, he emphasizes, 25% will give KIAK the right of veto on the adoption of strategically important decisions. The System believes that the PPP model in this project is beneficial to all participants. KMKR does not make decisions on the consolidation of its assets, the issue is under discussion in the government, said the head of the company Evgeny Levitsky. The press service of the government did not provide a comment.

Unless otherwise provided by the charter, a shareholder with a 51% stake may appoint a general director, elect an audit committee, approve major transactions of the company, Forward Legal attorney Daria Shlyapnikova lists. The consolidation of assets will solve the problem of counterfeit goods, a source in the market explains.

According to him, before the KMKR sold water for bottling to third-party plants, which, conditionally, purchased 10 liters of Essentuki, and released 100 liters to the market. “Where is the guarantee that the state will do better now?” He says. Maxim Novikov, president of the Union of Soft Drinks and Mineral Water Producers, notes that the French Evian has existed on a PPP basis for many years, which proves the effectiveness of the model.