Alfa Bank acquires stake in Russia’s largest milk producer EkoNiva through repo


As follows from data from the Cyprus and German registers of legal entities, the owner of 16% of the head company for EkoNiva Ekosem-Agrar was the Luxembourg ABH Financial. This company, in turn, owns 100% of Alfa Bank (its largest shareholders are billionaires and partners in Alfa — Group Mikhail Fridman (32.9%), German Khan (20.9%), Alexey Kuzmichev (16.3%) and Peter Aven (12.4%)). The main shareholder of Ekosem-Agrar with a share of 42.8% remains its Creator, German businessman Stefan Durr.

Earlier, the Russian partner of Durr in EkoNiva was billionaire Roman Avdeev. Initially, Avdeev invested in EkoNiva through the Hi Capital Fund, and at the beginning of 2017, he negotiated with Durr to increase the share from 3% to 10-15% through Rossium holding. However, the businessmen failed to agree, and in October 2017 Rossium sold 3% of the shares of Ekosem-Agrar. The buyer and the transaction amount were not disclosed. Two months later, Avdeev left another agricultural business, selling 99.99% of Agronova-L agricultural holding to structures associated with the Region group of companies.

Avdeev’s share in Ekosem-Agrar could not be limited to 3% of shares. Structures associated with the Moscow Credit Bank of Mr.Avdeev owned another 13% through the Cyprus company Ternata.

Then all 16% of the shares were sold to structures associated with Alfa Bank. The reason for the sale was the refinancing of the loan by Alfa Bank, which EkoNiva previously took from Moscow Credit Bank, in exchange ABH Financial received a share in Ekosem-Agrar. The transaction is executed as a REPO and involves the transfer of shares directly to the structures of the lender.

Structures of Alfa Bank can consider the company’s shares as investment portfolio, says Mr. Durr. When Ekosem-Agrar will execute its IPO, Torentina may sell shares of Ekosem-Agrar during the placement, he said.

Ekosem-Agrar considered the possibility of entering the stock exchange, but so far plans are postponed: investors are now cautiously looking at investments in Russian business because of the geopolitical situation, it is better to wait for a more favorable market and sell securities at a more favorable price, the businessman said.

Stefan Durr founded EkoNiva in 1994, when the company was engaged in the production of buckwheat. In 2013, Durr became a citizen of Russia, at the same time “EkoNiva” began to produce dairy products.

Now the company operates in seven Russian regions. In 2017, the production of milk amounted to 297 000 tons. For comparison, the closest competitor in Russia “Agrokomplex. N.I.Tkacheva” produced 171 000 tons.According to Mr.  Stefan Duerr, in terms of milk production, EkoNiva is ranked eighth in the World.

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