In summer 2005, investment bankers at UBS Small Paul and Peter O'Brien from Morgan Stanley flew across the Atlantic. In the US, they had to spend a week in preparation for IPO of the Russian independent gas producer company "Novatek". Sitting on the plane, they knew that "Novatek" order book for shares already oversubscribed several times and the demand is on the upper border of the price. After some discussion, the Small and O'Brien directly into the aircraft was offered the main owner and the head of "Novatek" Leonid Michelson raise the price of accommodation. He refused, as has already named the price range and considered wrong "hustling, trying to win some penny." The bankers were surprised, because it was still not a penny - businessman ignored dozens, if not hundreds of millions of dollars. And persuasion Michelson did not succumb. "A businessman should not be greedy" - ended the conversation c investment bankers owner "Novatek".
The shares of the gas passed through the upper end of the range at the end of IPO market capitalization "Novatek" has made $ 5.1 billion. In 2006, the state of the Michelson reached $ 3 billion (26th mone hundred), and in 2016 he headed the list of Forbes c fortune of $ 14.4 billion.
Michelson wanted to capitalization "Novatek" was $ 100 billion, but not because of the money and not to sell, but because they wanted to create a great company, says his friend. Over the past 10 years, "Novatek" and Michelson passed a little more than a quarter of the way to the target - from a small gas producing company to a company value of $ 27 billion (54% of the capitalization of "Gazprom").
Very tough, direct, competent, able-bodied - so describe Michelson people who worked with him at different times.
"Do not niggle, sees the main and ready for serious steps because of this makes a huge impression on the people of the inner circle," - said an investment banker familiar with Michelson. He himself was to be interviewed for this article declined.
With all these advantages of Michelson he has another important ability - he knows how to pick the right partners in a timely manner. Perhaps the most valuable of them - Vladimir Putin's friend Gennady Timchenko.
Michelson said that not everything can be measured in money. In his presentation of the wealth is not important, as long as it is something created, tells his friend. In 1990 in Russia there were three independent gas producer, "Northgas" Farkhad Akhmedov, "Itera" Igor Makarov and "Novatek" Leonid Michelson. And only one of them remained in the gas business, and its owner has topped the list of Forbes. Investment bankers familiar with the three businessmen, believes it's all about goal-setting. For the purpose of Farkhad Akhmedov - Luxury Mansion Solyanka, castle, yacht on the Mediterranean Sea, and "Northgas" was a kind of stepping stone for him. For Makarova - pathos: the office next to "Gazprom", participate in important events, a great friendship with the previous command, stood at the helm of the monopoly. But, when "Gazprom" headed by Alexei Miller, Designated Makarov was gone.
The goal of the Michelson - building: he came out of superintendents and proud of it.
"Michelson himself with a spade in the forefront - a trait that inspires respect. He is a builder in the broadest sense of the word. All the while creating something, and it's for himhas value, "- says businessman familiar with Michelson.
The son of a builder, Leonid Michelson came to the Tyumen north of Samara after graduation - a foreman on the construction of the gas pipeline Urengoy - Chelyabinsk. I get up at six in the morning and before you go to work (meeting starts at seven), the breakfast could drink vodka - he had to work with special contingent. The Construction Department, where he worked as Michelson, mostly prisoners were sent yesterday. With them, the foreman especially not stand on ceremony, and when the police led away prisoners from the construction site for bad behavior, Michelson often heard in his address: "We're still in the zone meet."
But he came across, and very decent people. In the north Michelson learned to work with any contingent, says his friend. Vodka he has since not drink, prefers wine and even collects it. Tyumen north Michelson really hooked. Everything is done to the limit, he probably liked it, said his friend. And when Michelson called to Samara on the subway construction site, before he no longer wanted to build pipelines thI have liked to.
In 1984, 29-year-old Michelson asked to become chief engineer of the trust "Ryazantruboprovodstroy", although he wanted to work with his father, who led other trust - "Kuybyshevtruboprovodstroy". In 1987, Victor Michelson became seriously ill. His son left the "Ryazantruboprovodstroya" and a few months was out of work, I tried to go to work in the "Kuybyshevtruboprovodstroy" to replace his father. But before that, nobody cared. While his father was ill in the workplace began bickering, all of his deputies would take the place of the chief of the trust and each engaged in the election campaign, so the team broke up into groups. Leonid Michelson called it then perverted form of democracy within the same team, he tells his friend.
Solve the problem with the appointment of the Michelson Jr. in "Kuybyshevtruboprovodstroy" helped an acquaintance of his father's Party Committee. A few days after the son took his father, 71-year-old Victor Michelson died. A few months later, Leonid Michelson dismissed all potential biddersthe place of the head of the trust. Not because he was afraid that his podsidyat, but because of how they behaved when his father died, his friend says.
"A typical Russian oligarch assets received on the cheap, at the right time in the right place. How to get your company Michelson? He built it, because such a company to Michelson was not ", - said an investment banker. When Michelson was once asked, how did the "Novatek", he joked, that supposedly united two beggars - builder and geologist, tells a familiar Michelson. Builder himself was Michelson, a geologist - Joseph Levinsohn. Geologists could get a license, but they did not have money for mining, and builders could lay pipelines and equip field.
However, only a fraction of a joke was a joke about the poor Michelson.
On the decline of the Soviet power at low oil prices Trust Michelson was virtually bankrupt.
In the early 1990s he, together with the workforce privatized "Kuybyshevtruboprovodstroy" and called the construction company "Nova", but it was moreassiv than an asset: thousands of good, but useless staff. Michelson tossed across Western Siberia, where he was the main work front, and sought orders. "Nova" received contracts on fields in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous District. There was no money in customers, so for the work they have calculated their shares. So Michelson appeared a small proportion (7%) in the "Tarkosaleneftegaz" daughter "Purneftegasgeologia". Shortly before that, in 1993, Michelson met his future partner - Joseph Levinson, who headed the "Purneftegasgeologia". In 1996, Levinson was the Vice-Governor of the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous District.
Michelson always angry when he hears suggestions that Levinsohn, working in government, provided its license. Most licenses "Purneftegasgeologia" received before her partner changed jobs and Yurkharovskoye field (it now accounts for over 60% of production, "Novatek"), the company bought the bodies of Kakha Bendukidze, said his friend. According to Rosnedra, to 1994, when the Michelson structure began to buy up shares "Purneftegasgeologia"The company has been licensed to Komsomolsk, West and East Tarkosalinskoye Tarkosalinskoye field, Izvestia, Ust-Purpeisky, Khancheyskoye, Kynsko-Chaselsky areas and 21 land in several districts of the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous District. In 2001, "Novatek" has had a controlling stake "Purneftegasgeologia". "Vedomosti" wrote then that the company owns the information about 334 hydrocarbon deposits, total reserves of 1.5 billion tons of oil, 150 million tons of gas condensate and 4 trillion cubic meters. meters of gas.
"Novatek" raised gas from fields that "Gazprom" were not interested, said an investment banker. A former government official recalled that in early 1990, "Gazprom" refused to voluntarily from the gas fields. "Great", "Gazprom" does not consider it necessary to deal with small deposits and small deposits with the reserves were considered less than 500 billion cubic meters of gas, confirming former top manager of a monopoly. Sometimes later it turned out that the real reserves are much higher. This is what happened, for example, Yurkharovskoye field- Mainly upstream assets "Novatek".
In 1995 Roskomnedra refused "Gazprom" to issue a license for the gas-bearing section. Later, according to media data, "Purneftegasgeologia" offered the license to "Gazprom", but the group refused: recoverable reserves Yurkharovskoye field evaluated only 9 billion cubic meters. In 2001 Yurkharovskoye recoverable reserves (C1 + C2) already exceed 300 billion cubic meters, and in 2003 on the deposit start commercial operation Michelson said that for two years of additional exploration total gas reserves rose to 1.3 trillion cubic meters (recoverable C1 + C2 - approximately 780 billion).
Could be from the real data Levinson Reserves? Geological information - it is such a complex matter, says a former government official: the real reserves can not be measured until then, until the whole pump out gas or oil, so it's hard to figure out where he was intent in the underestimation of reserves, and just where the error occurred. Either way, says a former top manager of "Gazprom", but gas-bearing region of the map, you can find a lot of small and ne very fields that are in some way at the time were picked up by different organizations.
Specificity of the gas business in Russia is such that any gas field still need to monetize, as stocks will not only produce, but also to transport, sell - that is, to have access to the unified gas supply system. In the oil sector, the reforms lines were isolated in a separate structure - "Transneft", and access to pipe received dozens of companies. "Gazprom" as a pipe still guarded as the apple of his eye. And with the help of this tool failsafe monopoly was able to bankrupt anyone who dared to produce gas in Russia. A former top manager of "Gazprom" believes that the help "Novatek" with access to the pipe could governor of Yamal Jury Neelov (led the region since 1994, for 17 years), whose deputy was Joseph Levinsohn. The head of the country, he said the main gas-bearing province, certainly had an influence even on "Gazprom", the more so because he was a member of board of directors of the monopoly.
President Partner friend
& laquo; I am very surprised at how transformation occurred with Michelson. I was sure that he will eat, as well as other independent producers, "- says a former government official.
After leaving Vyakhirev of "Gazprom" Alexey Miller, the team began to return assets, run up under the previous management. "She left a daughter, and walked to go back" - the phrase deputy predpravleniya of "Gazprom" Alexander Ananenkov treated in time for this story. Farhad Ahmadov in 2005, had to return "Urengoygazprom" controlling stake "Northgas" who worked in the North-Urengoy field with reserves of more than 300 billion cubic meters of gas. Igor Makarov did not want to sell a controlling stake, "Itera" to "Gazprom". And "Gazprom" drove his company from the markets of CIS sales and killed in the bud attempts to launch Shore mine, preventing access to the pipe.
There were problems and "Novatek". In 1996 Tyumen "daughter" of "Gazprom", "Zapsibgazprom" received 20% "Purneftegasgeologia" with the obligation, etc.. Entail the company $ 51.4 million in further assumed that "Zapsibgazprom" will increase the package to the control, but the opposite happened: in the course of a few additional issues package "Zapsibgazprom" has been blurred to 4.17%, and the structure of the Michelson "Novafininvest" gained control over the enterprise. New "Gazprom" management for several years and challenged the additional issue of limited access "Novatek" to the pipe. "We came to them, they said: Why did you apply resource" - explained Michelson in an interview with Forbes in 2005. The parties went to the world: in exchange for not standing share nothing in "Purneftegasgeologia" "Novatek" transferred "Gazprom" license for the Western Tarkosalinskoye deposit with reserves of 381 billion cubic meters. However, "Novatek" problems were not over. In the midst of the road show IPO in 2005 Yamal prosecutors challenged the consolidation of the gas assets of the company, its offices were searched. Michelson and company management tried to blame the withdrawal of assets in offshore, money laundering, and that they are now all sold in London, says a former government official. & laquo; parallel prosecution went different business, so "Novatek" were very much afraid that all this will end badly, "- he said. The fears were unfounded, as with "Gazprom" was able to negotiate.
Shortly before the IPO «Novatek» started cooperation with Gazprombank (the main owner was "Gazprom"). The bank bought "Novatek" blocking stake "Tambeineftegaz", which owned the license for South Tambeyskoye field with reserves of over 1.2 trillion cubic meters. A year later, the shareholder "Novatek" has become "Gazprom" bought 19.39% of shares for $ 2.34 billion This is the chairman of board of Gazprombank Andrey Akimov helped Michelson in 2008 to acquire the main business partner -. Gennady Timchenko 5. "Michelson - a loner, but staying one danger - remember the familiar banker. - He did not need an industrial partner, but he had to leave the narrow little world in international business. " Ivan made an effort to Timchenko and Michelson partnership took place, because at first they perceived each other warily.
LeoNID Michelson - a very suspicious man, says an investment banker. "Why Timchenko needed" Novatek "? He has experience in international projects, including the name of Western bankers and the considerable administrative and financial resources, - tells the familiar Akimova. - In general, suitable to all those that in a complex called "acceptable face". Timchenko then lived mostly abroad, and the purchase of shares in the "Novatek" has nontrivial deal for him - in Russia had already formed a set of players in the gas market.
Michelson before and after Timchenko Timchenko - are two different people.
This phrase uttered almost all interlocutors Forbes. Here's how to remember the "Gazprom" a former top manager. Until 2008, Michelson, already a billionaire, modestly went to classrooms on Nametkina 16 (the central office of "Gazprom") and offered ideas that no one was interested. Michelson would, for example, to get a share in the company "North-energy" (reserves 1.3 trillion cubic meters of gas), an option for a controlling stake in which was "Gazprom". Offer Michaelson in "Gazprom & raquo; then ignored. Everything changed in 2008, after Timchenko became a shareholder of "Novatek" Service in 5.07% of the shares. Since Timchenko package increased to 23.5%, and Michelson in negotiations with "Gazprom" is sitting at a table with Miller, tells Forbes said.
Since 2008, "Novatek" 2.5 times increased their holdings. There was and deal with "SeverEnergiya", "Gazprom" has realized its option, and then sold the company JV "Novatek" and "Gazprom oil" for $ 1.8 billion, "Not only that," Gazprom "has sold the company for costs, so also. signed an agreement to purchase gas from Samburg field on an unprecedented high price - 1800 rubles per 1,000 cubic meters, and an average of "Gazprom" to buy gas from independent producers for 800-900 rubles. Absurd some! "- Says a former top manager of" Gazprom ".
In 2011, a partnership Michelson and Timchenko went beyond "Novatek". A year earlier Michelson purchased from Gazprombank's largest petrochemical company of the country, "Sibur", and proposed a new partnership to shareholders "Novatek"- Timchenko and French Total. "I have long kept an eye on the company, but then" Gazprom "it is not sold, - said Timchenko, in an interview with Forbes in 2012. - He came in and said, look, you and I are so good in "NOVATEK", maybe you want to become a partner in another company's "Offer it took and bought 37.5% of" Sibur "?.
In December 2010, the company "Miracle", controlled by Michelson, bought 50% of "Sibur" Gazprombank for 75 billion rubles, taking a loan in the same Gazprombank. Almost a year later the company Dellawood Holdings (beneficiaries Michelson, Timchenko and managers "Sibur") bought the remaining 50% stake. After the transaction, "Miracle" was attached to the "Sibur Holding" and Dellawood became the owner of 100% "SIBUR Holding". Thus, Michelson received 57.5% of the company Timchenko - 37.5% and management - 5%, and the balance of the debt was in "Sibur". Net debt "Sibur" at 31 December 2010 was 43.3 billion rubles (0,74 EBITDA), on June 31, 2015 th - 232.2 billion rubles (1,82 EBITDA).
In 2014, Timchenko sold 17% of shares "Sibur" Kirill Shamalova son Nicholas ShamalIslands, another good friend of Putin's, reducing its stake to 15.3%. Cyril Shamalova media called Russian President-law.
In December 2015 they were joined by another partner -. Chinese company Sinopec, which paid for 10% of "Sibur" $ 1.34 billion As a result of the transaction the share of the Michelson declined from 50.2% to 43.2%.
As shareholders participate in the company's life? Timchenko see "Sibur" very rarely - only the board of directors, with the advent of Shamalova its role has diminished. Michelson first deeply immersed in the affairs of the company, he was well aware of the raw material part of the business, because it intersects with the business, "Novatek". But now in the "Sibur" he had a financial investor rather position, as opposed to "Novatek", where "he knows all the ropes, detail, detail, better than most of its employees."
In Michelson has a private jet, which is not surprising: after all, in the air, he spends hundreds of hours flying to Japan, China or reaches Sabetta - shift camp gas workers in Yamal. "Michelson could not be with a Sabettatain interval. Otherwise, it will cease to sleep "- ironically familiar to him businessman. There "Novatek", perhaps the biggest project in the company's history - the construction of a liquefaction plant for export to Asian markets via the Northern Sea Route. On this construction Michelson regularly report to President Putin. It is planned that the plant will work in 2017, its products have already been contracted.
A former government official says that the idea to do the LNG production from the Michelson dates back to the mid-2000s, before joining the "Novatek" Timchenko. But the ability to do large-scale project such as "Yamal LNG" appeared thanks to Timchenko.
Once in 2006, "Novatek" has sold a blocking stake in Gazprombank "Tambeineftegaz" owner Nikolai Bogachev company controlling stake reissued a license to another company - "Yamal LNG", and then resold it "Metalloinvest" Alisher Usmanov 3. Timchenko bought it and sold "Novatek" has a controlling stake (51%) for $ 650 million. A giant South-Tambeyskoe field was considered earlier as a future resource replenishment in case if "Gazprom" will reduce production at Yamal. Bogachev himself told Forbes in 2005 that will be taken to develop the field, only if gas liquefaction plants will be built and the infrastructure for its export by sea. This and started Michelson.
Under the implementation of the "Yamal LNG" project received an unprecedented package of benefits. The company does not pay the VAT on the import of equipment, it shall not apply the requirements concerning the size of the controlled debt relative to the size of equity capital, "Yamal LNG" has a tax and customs privileges to the extracted gas. In 2014, "Novatek" has fallen under US and EU sanctions, but it was then that the company needed the money for the project. And the state has allocated "Yamal LNG" 150 billion rubles from the National Wealth Fund, and in addition, it is funding the construction of the port of Sabetta on the Yamal Peninsula. In turn, the government of the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug (region now heads Dmitry Kobylkin, who worked in the "Purneftegasgeologia") approved a pasket incentives for "Yamal LNG": the company is exempt from property tax for 12 years, and will pay a reduced corporate income tax at a rate of 13.5%. Michelson creates a new petroleum province with access to new markets, and such incentives for "Yamal LNG" needed to give no matter who it is built, said an investment banker familiar with him.
This story is very useful for businesses, says a former top manager of "Gazprom", because "in the end she will be able to start the reform of the gas sector and break the deadlock in which we are in connection with the monopoly" Gazprom ". In March 2016 it became known that Leonid Michelson asked President Vladimir Putin to allow "Arcticgaz" (this company is included in "SeverEnergiya") pipeline to export gas through the "Gazprom export". The president is thinking.