FESCO, a third of which belongs to businessman Ziyavudin Magomedov, is “in the final, final part” of the negotiations on the sale of 25.07% of Russia's largest railway container operator Transcontainer. The ex-head of Summa Magomedova, chairman of the board of directors of FESCO Leila Mammedzade said this in an interview with RBC.
Magomedov planned to create a national container operator on the basis of Transcontainer and repeatedly wrote about this to the government and to President Vladimir Putin, and also claimed to buy a controlling stake in the operator (50.2%) owned by Russian Railways. But in December 2017, the operator acquired a new co-owner - “Yenisei Capital”, Roman Abramovich and Alexander Abramov, who acquired 24.5% from NPF “Prosperity”. And on March 30, Ziyavudin Magomedov, along with his elder brother Magomed, was under arrest on charges of organizing a criminal community.
“I myself at many conferences have repeatedly said that we, as FESCO, are certainly interested in acquiring [additional shares] of TransContainer.” But we are now putting everything aside, because acquisitions are completely inappropriate and wrong, ”said Mammedzade. According to her, FESCO’s management presented to the board of directors “several offers with commercial terms” for the sale of a stake in Transcontainer, all of them “are strictly in the market and do not involve any discount.” On Friday, 25.07% of the operator on the Moscow Stock Exchange was worth 15.6 billion rubles.
Earlier it was reported about interest in this package from the side of Yenisei Capital and UCL Holding Vladimir Lisin, but Mammedzade did not say what proposal the FESCO council stopped at. However, RBC sources told back in February that the structure of Abramovich and Abramov was preparing to conduct due diligence (assessment) of TransContainer and was considering the possibility of participating in the privatization of the state stake, and later Abramov himself confirmed the interest to journalists. The ex-chairman of the board of directors of Russian Railways, former Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich, also spoke about the intention of these businessmen to increase the share of RBC. In June, Vyacheslav Sarayev, who had previously headed one of the Evraz Abramovich and Abramov structures, became the new general director of Transcontainer. The press service of Invest AG Abramova (managing partner of Yenisei Capital) did not respond to the request of RBC.
“For a meaningful comment, you need to know the terms of the deal. We don’t know them yet, ”a Freight One representative (UCL representative Vladimir Lisin) told RBC.
TransContainer will become the second major asset from which Magomedov is emerging. On October 8, it became known that he and his brother Magomed sold 25% of the port operator NCSP to Transneft for $ 750 million.
According to Mammedzade, all proceeds from the sale of shares in Transcontainer will go to repay FESCO’s debts. “I very much hope that by the end of 2018, the company's debt / EBITDA ratio will decline to the values we promised the banks [below four EBITDA],” she said.
The largest creditor of FESCO is VTB Bank, which at the end of 2017 opened a credit line to the company for $ 680 million. Most of these funds went to pay Eurobond holders. On October 2, First Deputy Chairman of the Board of VTB Yuri Soloviev told reporters that FESCO serves its obligations. “Operationally, the loan is in very good condition, the company is developing the business, everything is serviced on time and in perfect order,” he said then.
TransContainer is the largest railway container operator in Russia. At the end of 2017, the company carried 1,777 million TEU (equivalent to a 20-foot container), which represents 46% of the total traffic. The company's net profit in 2017 according to IFRS amounted to 6.5 billion rubles, which is twice as much as in 2016.