Lisin will argue with Abramovich for control of Transcontainer

The company of Vladimir Lisin filed a request for participation in the auction for the sale of a controlling stake in Transcontainer. At the end of August, the FAS allowed Roman Abramovich’s structure to participate with partners.
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Who is fighting for the Transcontainer?

The first freight company (Freight One), controlled by Vladimir Lisin’s Fletcher Group, decided to participate in the privatization of a controlling interest (50% plus two shares) of the largest railway container operator Transcontainer owned by Russian Railways. Lisin ranks second in the ranking of the richest businessmen in Russia according to Forbes magazine; his fortune is estimated at $ 21.3 billion.

The Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) has approved the Freight One’s request to participate in this auction, an agency representative told RBC. But the service issued an order to provide non-discriminatory access to the carrier's terminals, platforms and containers. The press service of Freight One declined to comment.

In August, the application of Yenisei Capital Roman Abramovich and Alexander Abramov, which owns 24.5% of the operator, was approved, the FAS representative said. According to Forbes, Abramovich’s fortune is $ 12.4 billion (tenth in the ranking), Abramov’s is $ 6.2 billion (20th place).

Another contender for Transcontainer is the Delo group, Sergei Shishkarev, and her petition has also received FAS approval. Shishkarev is not among the Forbes 200 richest businessmen.

“When applications are received from other applicants, the FAS will quickly consider them in order to ensure real competition for Transcontainer shares at an auction held by Russian Railways,” the service said. The privatization of a controlling stake in Transcontainer, for which there are already three official bidders, should take place on November 27.

The starting price of a controlling stake, according to an estimate that was ordered by PwC by Russian Railways, is 36.159 billion rubles. Applications will be accepted until November 15. On October 11, the share of Russian Railways in the Transcontainer on the Moscow Exchange was worth 58.6 billion rubles.

In mid-April, Freight One General Director Sergei Karataev told reporters that the company is considering participating in the privatization of Transcontainer. “In any case, the final decision on the purchase is made at the board of directors or at a meeting of shareholders. So far, such a decision has not been made, ”said Karataev. Lisin himself said in March to RBC that this question “has not yet reached him”.

Transcontainer is an intermodal container operator with the country's largest fleet of containers (74.1 thousand units) and fitting platforms (27.8 thousand units). In 2018, the company's net profit under IFRS increased by 45.5% and amounted to 9.5 billion rubles. The operator’s revenue increased by 17.4%, to 76.9 billion rubles. As of December 31, 2018, the company was in circulation with two issues of ruble bonds totaling 11.3 billion rubles., Net debt amounted to 1.77 billion rubles.

Who is more likely to win the auction

In addition to Russian Railways and Yenisei Capital, Transcontainer has a third shareholder - VTB, which at the end of 2018 acquired about 25% of the operator from the FESCO group Ziyavudin Magomedov (in 2018 he was arrested on suspicion of embezzlement of 2.5 billion rubles and the organization of criminal community). VTB called itself the temporary owner of the package. RBC sources close to the various shareholders of the operator said that Yenisei Capital could become the buyer of its stake. In January 2019, the bank held three representatives of this company on the Board of Directors of Transcontainer, so that it received five of 11 seats. In 2018, Vyacheslav Saraev was appointed the operator’s director general, who headed the Mezhegeugol Management Company, which is part of the Evraz group's coal division, the largest shareholders of which are Abramovich and Abramov.

On March 13, Abramovich, Abramov and their partners sold part of the shares of Norilsk Nickel for $ 550 million, and then twice, in March and June, sold shares of Evraz. They received about 60 billion rubles from these transactions. In the spring, Abramov found it difficult to answer a question from RBC about what the money would go to.

If Yenisei Capital does not win the auction, then it can sell its stake in Transcontainer to the winner, a source close to one of the operator’s shareholders told RBC. In this case, the winner will redeem the VTB stake, he said. The press service of VTB declined to comment. RBC sent inquiries to the representative of Millhouse Abramovich and to Invest AG Abramov.

The competition for a controlling stake in Transcontainer will be quite aggressive, said Mikhail Burmistrov, General Director of INFOLine-Analytics, to RBC. The cost of the package, according to his estimates, will increase significantly compared to the starting price - by about 40%, up to 50 billion rubles.

“There are many worthy players among the applicants, not only participants in the Forbes list (Lisin, Abramovich and Abramov), but also the Delo company, which can get interesting synergy together with Transcontainer,” the expert says. In 2018, Delo Group entered the federal level by purchasing for $ 250 million a stake in Global Ports, Russia's largest container port operator. Earlier, the Kommersant newspaper called the owner of the Delo group, Sergei Shishkarev, an associate of the head of Roskosmos, Dmitry Rogozin, and they worked together in the Maritime Collegium under the government. According to the newspaper, it was Rogozin who lobbied for the appointment of a businessman to the Maritime College. In 2018, Shishkarev left the board.