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Russian Railways sold TransContainer at the price twice as high as the starting price. The companies of Abramovich and Lisin took part in the auction, but Sergey Shishkarev's Delo Group won.

In Moscow on November 27, the auction for the sale of 50% plus 2 shares in TransContainer (6.95 million shares) held by United Transport and Logistics Company, a subsidiary of Russian Railways, took place. Delo-Center, a member of Sergey Shishkarev's Delo Group, won the auction. It had offered 60.3 billion rubles for the stake, while the starting price had been 36.16 billion rubles, the organizers of the auction told VTB Capital.

The first step of the auction amounted to 141 million rubles; other steps amounted to 200 million rubles. The bidding was very intense and lasted for about 40 minutes, judging by the final price, over 120 steps were made. Three companies fought for the asset. Besides Delo Group, there were Yenisey Capital controlled by joint owners of Evraz Roman Abramovich and Alexander Abarmov, and Freight One controlled by Vladimir Lisin. Yenisey Capital already holds 24.74% in TransContainer.

Freight One was the first to quit the bidding, it was followed by Yenisey Capital, says a person close to one of the bidding participants. A representative of Freight One did not specify the sum after which the company stopped bidding.

Not everyone could apply for the participation in the auction. A bidder was required to have at least 5,000 freight wagons or a container terminal (terminals) with the aggregate processing capacity of at least 50,000 containers (20-foot equivalent units). Or a 20% stake in TransContainer. Companies having foreign co-owners (with a stake exceeding 25%) and state ownership (with a stake exceeding 30%), and businesses specializing in maritime shipping (over 50% of proceeds) were not admitted to the auction. Bidders also had to make a deposit of 10% of the starting price amounting to 3.6 billion rubles.

TransContainer is Russia's largest operator of container shipping. The company has a network of 60 terminals in Russia, Kazakhstan and Slovakia, and a fleet of 27,819 flatcars and 74,118 containers.

Shares of TransContainer are listed on Moscow exchange. From August 7, when the auction conditions were announced, they rose in price by 25.3% from 6,995 rubles per share to 8,765 rubles per share on November 27 at 02:25 pm Moscow time (the auction started at 03:00 pm). The price of the shares was just a little higher than the price at which Delo Group bought them at the auction.

Who is Shishkarev and what is Delo Group

Shishkarev established and became the CEO of the transport and logistics holding Delo in 1993. From 1999 he was a deputy of the State Duma for several consecutive convocations, from 2009 until 2014 he chaired the transport committee. In 2014 he became the president of Delo Group once again.

For many years the business of Dela Group has been focused in Novorossiysk, where the group holds containers and grain terminals. In 2018 Delo Group bought 30.75% of shares in Global Ports, Russia's largest port container operator with assets in the North-Western and Far-Eastern basins for 250 million USD.

Russian Railways is planning to close the deal for the sale of the stake in TransContainer by the end of 2019. However, the potential expenses of the winner will be even more. It will have to make an offer to other shareholders. In theory, Delo Group may spend about 60 billion rubles more, should all the co-owners of TransContainer accept the offer. Besides Yenisey Capital, a big minority shareholder of TransContainer is VTB, holding a stake of 24.84%.

Earlier Shishkarev explained that apart from the company's own funds (25-30%), he planned to raise funds from Sberbank to finance the deal. Sberbank's press service confirmed on November 27: the bank will finance this deal. According to Prime Agency, the businessman said that Delo Group would suggest VTB remain a shareholder of TransContainer, and make an offer to other shareholders. A representative of VTB did not comment on this.

The auction results are an "enormous success" both for the seller and for the buyer, General Director of Infoline-analytics Mikhail Burmistrov notes. "The price of the asset surpassed the wildlest expectations," he adds. "The presence in the three basins and the majority share in the leading Russian container shipping operator will enable Delo Group to become a national logistics transport integrator," the company's report runs. Delo Group has two terminals in Novorossiysk, including a container terminal, and experience in container shipping, reminds Igor Smirnov, director of corporate and sovereign ratings at Expert RA. The wagon shipping market is stagnating, and container shipping increases by 15-20% each year, Smirnov clarifies the increased interest in TransContainer.

Nevertheless, Delo Group has not paid such a colossal price for TransContainer. Based on the auction the value of the company is estimated at 120.6 billion rubles. EBITDA for the year ended on September 30 amounted to 20.5 billion rubles, points out Smirnov. The company is estimated as EBITDA times 5.9. Dela Group will not face difficulties while making up for its expenses, Burmistrov and Smirnov believe. This can be achieved through an offering on an exchange or sale of the stake, including Delo itself, to a strategic or financial investor.

A representative of Yenisey Capital did not comment on the auction results. A decision on further steps would be made after the offer, in which the company was planning to participate, he said. The shares in TransContainer had been acquired by the company at a price 70% lower than the price at which they were acquired by Delo Group, states Smirnov. We believe that the final price of this asset is not economically feasible, that's why we quitted the bidding," a representative of Freight One told RBC.

Source – Vedomosti dated 28.11.2019 .