The FAS intervened in the situation around the plans of the authorities of the Trans-Urals to conclude a billion-dollar concession for the construction of a waste sorting complex in the Ketovsky district “with the unknown company Ecotech,” the FAS intervened. The anti-monopoly officials considered such plans of officials “extremely suspicious” and demanded that the regulations that launched the process in a short time be canceled and that bidding be organized. However, for the subordinates of Governor Vadim Shumkov, the expected dividends, as the market argues, outweigh the risks of litigation. The demands of the FAS, as far as we can judge at the current moment, have already been refused, and the Moscow Arbitration Court was followed by a statement demanding from local officials to recognize the actions of the civil service as illegal. The details of the future process are still unknown, but representatives of the industry community, who have been closely following the course of events since the end of last year, are sure that “if the plans are implemented, the damage to legal entities and the population of the Trans-Urals can be measured in hundreds of millions of rubles.” Moreover, they will fall “not into the pockets of denominations from Ecotech, but by much more serious structures and their patrons.”
The Department of Civil Protection, Environmental Protection and Natural Resources of the Kurgan Region filed a lawsuit with the Moscow Arbitration Court demanding that the actions of the Federal Antimonopoly Service be declared illegal.
To clarify, the authorities have planned the construction of a new waste sorting complex in Prosvet, the volume of investments in which is estimated at 1.1 billion rubles.
With a private initiative to build a facility with a capacity of 160 thousand tons per year, which, by the way, market analysts consider clearly overpriced, a certain Ecotech LLC, founded only in June 2022 and owned by Kirill Shushval (51%) and Alena Shipaeva (49 %). Previously, Shushval was not seen in the industry, but he is also listed as one of the founders of the Rokada company, which claims to build a landfill and waste sorting facility for 2.5 billion in Chelyabinsk. Shushval itself is spoken of in the market as “a probable face value.”
It is noteworthy that such a large amount of funds was supposed to be taken from several sources: about 500 million in the form of a state grant from the budget of the Russian Federation, another 450 million in the form of borrowed funds, most likely, as a preferential loan from PIC REO, and about 132 million more – own money. The facility is supposed to be put into operation in 2025 and bring the share of recyclable waste to 55%.
Experts immediately drew attention to a number of curious nuances of the proposed concession. So, for example, in the draft agreement with merchants it is mentioned that another 200 million can be added without changing the terms of the concession itself. In addition, the authorities undertake to ensure 100% loading of waste sorting, otherwise the regional treasury will be forced to compensate partners for lost income.
All together, as industry experts emphasize, will clearly negatively affect tariffs, and not only for legal entities, but also for seemingly legally protected residents, to whom the government is obliged to compensate for the difference if the tariff is set above the annual limit index.
However, the draft states that the authorities must go beyond the limit if it is necessary to return the investment to the concessionaire. Back in January, analysts noted that “no one would give such sweet conditions to Ecotech, and behind it there are probably large business structures, probably the same Citimatic or PPC REO itself, which actually finances the project.”
In April, the FAS drew attention to what was happening and put forward demands to cancel the acts and conduct competitive procedures. “The Department is to fulfill its obligations <...> to organize tenders for the right to conclude a concession agreement within two months from the date of cancellation by the government of the Kurgan region of order No. 36-r,” follows from the FAS order.
At the same time, the deadline for canceling the protocol expired on April 28, but apparently, “the order was never fulfilled.” This can be judged from the materials of the Moscow Arbitration Court, where on May 2 the deppriroda’s claim for supervision was received, and the day before it was accepted into proceedings. The essence of the statement is not disclosed at the moment, but as a demand, Kurgan officials insist on recognizing the actions of the antimonopolists as illegal.
Industry experts share their assessments of the situation and possible scenarios for the development of events with the agency.
“If the protocol is not cancelled, it means that the order to terminate the agreement has not been fulfilled. And this is a serious violation, which, with a high degree of probability, will lead to the initiation of a case of violation of competition. However, Kurgan officials are no strangers to cases from the FAS, remember the cartel. As a result, with a favorable set of circumstances, everything will come to the point that budget funds will be saved, and the payment of citizens will not be increased,” experts say.
If in any way “Ecotech” with the persons behind them can “push through” their version of the concession agreement, then the costs of the budget of the Trans-Urals, according to the interlocutors of the publication, “are capable of at least the size of a capital grant.” This amount must be received from the budget and subsequently returned by the population in the form of a fee. Based on the draft agreement, it is about 499 million rubles.