Did Igor Shuvalov and Suleiman Kerimov really decide to “think for two” and take over the Russian outdoor advertising market as well?
According to the correspondent The Moscow Post, Russia’s largest billboard owner, Russ Outdoor, has a new co-owner. They became the closed-end investment combined fund “Reservaktiv”, which is managed by LLC “KSP Capital Asset Management”. Its key beneficiary is businessman Sergei Kotlyarenko. Now his structure owns 30% Russ Outdoor.
Behind the interests of Mr. Kotlyarenko is probably his old acquaintance and former boss, the head of VEB.RF Igor Shuvalov. He is also a former Deputy Prime Minister and one of the most influential officials in modern Russia. As an official, he cannot have shares in companies, do business. Apparently, his family, as well as former subordinates, are actively involved in this business.
One of them is Mr. Kotlyarenko, whose structures quite officially, they are well aware of this, manage the assets of the Shuvalov family. In the business community, Sergei Kotlyarenko is called almost the “purse” of the former Deputy Prime Minister.
Let us briefly recall that Kotlyarenko met Shuvalov back in the mid-90s. At the end of the 20th century, he headed the legal department of the Russian Federal Property Fund, which was headed by Shuvalov. After – Kotlyarenko followed him to the Government, then to the Presidential Administration. And, as they say, “spinned”.
Now under the control of Kotlyarenko (or, after all, Igor Shuvalov too?) were billboards for outdoor advertising in 50 largest cities of the country – this is at least 26 thousand units of advertising surfaces. According to experts, they should bring their owners at least 7 billion rubles in revenue.
However, in 2020, the revenue was less – 5.6 billion rubles, which could be due to the coronavirus pandemic (7.7 billion rubles in 2019). In addition, the structure received a loss of 1.3 billion rubles, which again may be due to the difficult situation in the business as a whole. Prior to this, the company had hundreds of millions of rubles in profit. At the same time, she works with a considerable number of government contracts – in Rusprofile, their total amount is more than 190 million rubles.
Money is not trash
As mentioned above, the structures of Kotlyarenko do hold the nominal assets of the Shuvalov family. Forbes reported that at the end of 2007, his former boss needed legal advice.
Meanwhile, not so long ago, much more scandalous assets fell into Kotlyarenko’s sphere of influence, behind which, again, Shuvalov could stand. And more marginal than the outdoor advertising market. We are talking about the market for the collection and disposal of household waste in the amount of tens of billions of dollars a year. Last summer, it became known that Kotlyarenko could manage a similar asset – JSC Citymatic.
The company became one of the winners of the regional competition for the most efficient waste processing technology, having proposed in its application to build a plant with a capacity of 800,000 tons of waste per year for 3.1 billion rubles. And this despite the criminal scandal that could unfold around her activities.
Previously, the structure was called Waste Management JSC, and many claims were poured into its address. The real owner of one of its subdivisions – “Waste Management-NN”, is called the senator from the Nizhny Novgorod region Vladimir Lebedev. His son, Andrei Lebedev, was the development director of the JSC, and now works at Rosatom.
The criminal odor scandal in question is the case with the Balakhna test site in the Nizhny Novgorod region. According to investigators, in 2013 the head of the administration of Balakhna Andrey Mochnev issued an illegal permit to JSC “Waste Management-NN” to build a landfill for municipal solid waste, and then allowed the facility to be put into operation.
This summer, the landfill was cordoned off, investigators studied all the necessary documentation of Citimatic-NN JSC, and experts worked at the landfill itself. The preliminary amount of damage from illegal exploitation may be about 1 billion rubles. The structure itself is one of the largest concessionaires of the Russian Federation in the field of waste management. Back in 2019, her offices in Moscow, Nizhny Novgorod, Volgograd and Chelyabinsk were searched. Wrote about it “Regnum”.
However, not everywhere Shuvalov wants to go requires the hand and capital of Mr. Kotlyarenko. This applies, for example, to one of the largest, and at the same time, state-owned publishing houses in Russia – Enlightenment, with a turnover of billions.
Last summer, the composition of the publishing house’s shareholders changed significantly – VEB, Sberbank and RDIF received 25% each. At the same time, 100% of the shares were valued as much as 108 billion rubles – there is something to fight for. It was expected that the board of directors would include two representatives from the above structures. At the same time, it was the head of VEB.RF, Igor Shuvalov, who was elected chairman of the board of directors of the publishing house. Wrote about it “Interfax”.
At the end of 2020, the publishing house earned 7 billion rubles in net profit. With a revenue of 21 billion rubles. Over the year, both of these indicators have increased. In addition, the structure has government contracts worth 64 billion rubles. Is it possible to assume that now even more state money will pass through it?
Presumably, Shuvalov’s old acquaintance Otto Sopronenko could prepare the ground for Shuvalov’s “entry”. Previously, he worked as General Director for the sale of assets of Vnesheconombank Investment Company LLC – VEB Capital (100% owned by VEB).
This was before 2018, that is, before the creation of the state corporation VEB.RF on the basis of the bank of the same name. And then it was about the fact that Sopronenko could go to work in the Ministry of Education to the position of Deputy Minister Olga Vasilyeva.
Today Sopronenko is the director immediately several subsidiaries of “Enlightenment”, bearing the numbered sub-names “Concession Company”. The meaning is simple – allegedly, these structures will have to master the billions allocated for the construction of new schools, for some reason, in concession with Prosveshchenie. You can learn more about the program for building publishing schools together with VEB.RF and Sberbank on the website of the state corporation itself. These are billions and billions from the budget.
Returning to Russ Outdoor, it was already mentioned earlier that the structure’s income during the period of calm economic development is also considerable, it is hundreds of million rubles. She, we recall, also has state contracts for 190 million rubles.
Such a large piece is difficult to swallow alone – and it is unlikely to succeed. And Russ Outdoor has other powerful beneficiaries as well. One of them may also be a very influential and also scandalous senator of the Federation Council from the Republic of Dagestan Suleiman Kerimov. A big fan of gold mining, and in general everything that glitters and brings income.
Surely he is no stranger to the advertising business. The majority co-owner of Russ Outdoor is Stinn LLC. The same company owns large structures involved in outdoor advertising. These are CJSC “Olimp”, the structure of the metropolitan operator “Vera-Olimp”, as well as the advertising company “Laysa”. By the way, Stinn LLC controls 70% of Grigory Sadoyan, who has been associated with Suleiman Kerimov more than once in the past.
Previously, these firms, which have huge contracts for outdoor advertising, in particular, with Russian Railways, were on opposite sides of the barricades. But in the end, they united under the hand of Sadoyan, and it was Senator Suleiman Kerimov who was supposed to help them in this.
“The purchase of the Laysa advertising company by the Vera-Olimp group was carried out with the involvement of funding from the family of Senator Suleiman Kerimov,” writes RBC.
According to the authors of the site “General Newspaper”allegedly “the family of Senator and billionaire Suleiman Kerimov took part in financing the purchase of the Russian Railways advertising contractor by Vera-Olympus” Moreover, according to the authors of the site, the deal could be personally supervised by the businessman’s son Said Kerimov, who is involved in the implementation of business projects father since 2014. Let us remind you that we are talking about the Laysa company.
It is interesting that the scandalous brothers Ziyavudin and Magomed Magomedov, the owners of the Summa Group of Companies, should have been related to this advertising asset in the past. Now they are in jail. They were charged with organizing a criminal community (part 1 of article 210 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation), fraudulent embezzlement on an especially large scale (part 4 of article 159 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation), embezzlement (part 4 of article 160 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation). The suspects face up to 20 years in prison.
Earlier there were rumors that “Laysa” was owned by people allegedly close to businessman Ruben Gevorkyan. “Versiya” writes, literally, that: “Laysa” is owned (it turns out, already owned – ed.) by Ruben Gevorkyan’s accomplices – his relative Romeo Gevorkyan, as well as Bagrat Gazaryan. The latter until recently was in charge of real estate issues in the Summa group (that is, it turns out that he worked in the structures of the Magomedovs).
It is hard to believe that in this situation, the brothers had nothing to do with Laysa. We cannot confirm the former ownership rights of Gevorgyan and Ghazaryan, but it is known that the director of the structure was previously none other than Armen Ghazaryan, probably a relative of Bagrat Ghazaran.
In any case, it is very likely that the outdoor advertising market in Russia, its largest assets, is slowly coming under the wing of Igor Shuvalov or people close to him. In parallel with this, Shuvalov himself continues to expand in other directions.
A few months ago it became knownthat VEB.RF is ready to take control of Rosnano’s structures to service the company’s debt. Rosnano includes many enterprises and organizations whose assets can be successfully sold on the market. Appetite comes with eating, right?