The most scary creature on the vast territory of the Russian Federation is an official, especially a local one, who is far from the eyes of the central government. A local official is actually omnipotent under the disguise of the protection of state interests, especially when it comes to the interpretation of state interests.
The Sibneft company addressed Governor of the Novosibirsk region Viktor Tolokonsky and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Joint-Stock Company Airport Tolmachevo Alexander Borodin with a request to intervene in the conflict between the company Airport-Service and the General Director of the airport, Vyacheslav Shatalin. The next session of the Board of Directors of the company Airport Tolmachevo will take place in Moscow on August 2.
The authorized capital of the company Airport Tolmachevo is 124.44 million rubles; the face value of one share is 20 rubles; common registered shares make up 75% and 25% are preferred ones. The major shareholders of the company are the state, whith 51%; the personnel of the company, with 26%; MAPO Bank, with 12%; and Ertan, with 8%.
Sibneft and the Tolmachevo airport established the joint venture Airport-Service in December of 1999. The authorized capital of the new company was announced as 78.001 million rubles. Tolmachevo airport submitted a refueling storage to the authorized capital and Sibneft submitted fuel. The latter controls 50% plus one percent of the voting shares of the company Airport-Service, and this company possesses all rights for the real estate of the complex of combustive-lubricating materials. The first revenues of the joint venture str planned to be spent on bills of the airport and then on the distribution of the profit according to the contribution to the authorized capital. In spite of the fact that Airport-Service owns only the refueling complex of the airport, its operation brings four times as much profit in comparison with the rest of the services on maintaining planes.
This situation is rather typical for business in Russia, when an investor does not at all think to privatize this or that enterprise, using the disposition of the government. The investor simply arrests or seizes the property of the most commercially profitable and important division of an enterprise, obtaining an opportunity to control its cash flows and activity on the whole, without spending big money. However, officials are not nincompoops nowadays. If they see something that brings profit, then they will do their best to have their man in charge of that profit.
Viktor Tolokonsky became the head of the Novosibirsk region. The “face of the government” changed, when he came to power. New people appeared in the Board of Directors of the airport too, (the state owns 51% of its stocks). Vyacheslav Shatalin became the general director of the airport. It is easy to guess that Sibneft was not that close to the new team as it was to the team of the ex-governor. New authorities decided to attract serious investors to the airport, etc. However, no potential investor would like the fact that Airport Tolmachevo has been privatized by the oil company Sibneft at the mediation of Airport-Service. Therefore, the investment appeal of Airport Tolmachevo was close to zero.
Needless to mention that when a Russian official likes an economic idea, then he is not drawn to the execution of laws. The new staff of the Board of Directors of the airport quickly found various violations in the actions of their predecessors regarding the establishment of the joint venture. As it turned out, the establishment of the new company and submission of assets to it on the part of the state had not been coordinated with the Russian Ministry for State Property. New managers considered the establishment of the joint venture as null and void, they started doing their best to get the refueling complex back to the airport, the activity of Airport-Service was actually blocked. Furthermore, the local government sent the inquiry about this issue to the Office of the Prosecutor General, and the latter resent the suit on the cancellation of Airport-Service’s registration to the Arbitration Court of Novosibirsk.
The Arbitration Court of Novosibirsk ruled that the establishment of the company Airport-Service was legal and the appeal of the administration of the airport Tolmachevo was dismissed. However, neither the local government nor the general director of the airport were upset about the news. They are still standing. As the press-service of the company Sibneft reported, Vyacheslav Shatalin refused to acknowledge any property rights of Sibneft, he hampered the normal activity of the fuel complex of the airport despite those court decisions.
Russian oligarchs are used to prevailing upon various officials, but they can do it only when officials want that. Just think about the recent war between the late Krasnoyarsk regional governor Alexander Lebed and currently free businessman Anatoly Bykov. Bykov did the main part of the job to help Lebed to take over as governor, but as soon as their interests came apart, they forced Bykov out of everything and even put him to jail at the end of the day. Another oligarch helped Lebed to do this, Oleg Deripaska, who had an eye on Bykov’s aluminium business.
Well, a refueling complex of one airport is a little thing for a company like Sibneft, although it is an unpleasant little thing. In addition to that, there will be gubernatorial elections held in the region soon, and if the question is settled without any courts, then it is not ruled out that the new governor will have another name.
Dmitry Slobodyanyuk PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov