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Business interviews

In an interview given to the Russian business daily Kommersant (13 November 2012), Mostotrest General Director Vladimir Vlasov discussed the issues that you face if you attempt to build infrastructure in Russia. He should know:  Mostotrest is a major diversified transport infrastructure construction company in the country, inter alia the largest bridge builder in the Russian Federation in terms of revenue.

He also disclosed that the company planned to buy from businessman Arkady Rotenberg for RUB 7.87 billion (approximately GBP 160 million)  the North-West Concession Company, which is the concessionaire of the high-profile construction project – the paid highway Moscow-Saint Petersburg, as part of plans to diversify the business.  At the same time, it is worth noting that Rotenberg is the main shareholder in Mostotrest.

Vlasov explains that, while there are no obstacles blocking the access of foreign companies on the Russian infrastructure construction market, there is one issue that may hold them back – the inability in Russian conditions to plan for all the potential risks that may arise and the fact that from the very outset in Russia sites are not ready for construction and necessitate a completely different approach: to build at extremely rapid tempos once the sites are ready to compensate for lost time.

The Russian business daily Kommersant carries a long interview in its on-line and print versions of 31 October 2012 with the head of the Federal Tariff Service Sergei Novikov. He comments on the application of different ways to regulate the electricity, railway, port and utilities sectors and planned new amendments to legislation, which already underwent significant changes in 2012.

Novikov cites as a key area of concern the lack of legislation on the use of cross subsidisation, which is most prevalent in the railway and electricity sectors.

On 17 October 2012 business daily Kommersant carried an interview with Ilya Karpov, shareholder of the agricultural holding OGO,  in which he describes how the business flourished after almost closing down after the 1998 crisis and also explains why the business needed new shareholders and what went wrong.

And a great deal has gone wrong – the holding was almost bankrupted, while he ended up filing charges against his partners Mark Milgotin, Yury Manilov and Sergei Kupriyanov, who are accused of extortion. They allegedly forced him to sign over his interest in the company to them.

In an interview with Kommersant on 1 February 2012, entitled “We hope that common sense will prevail“, Brunswick Rail CEO and managing partner Vladimir Lelekov explains why the company decided to expand its business interests from operational leasing of rolling stock after acquiring the operator Proftrans, which works with Magnitogorsk Iron & Steel Works (MMK), and almost doubling its fleet of rail cars.

He also comments on the profitability of the rail car leasing business at present, the monopoly held by Russian Railways in the sector and the steps that need to be taken.

In an interview with Kommersant (16 January 2012), MegaFon CEO Sergei Soldatenkov comments on the mobile operator’s strategy relating to the development of LTE in Russia and the prospects for an IPO of MegaFon, EBITDA multiples of targets considered by the operator prior to acquisitions, and also his plans for the future. He indicates that he is not interested in an appointment to the next Cabinet after the forthcoming presidential elections, preferring to continue working in business.