Victor Pinchuk: formation, privatization, kidnapping
June 25, 2011 Success Stories
December 2004. Kiev Independence Square at ten o’clock at night in a row boils “orange” crowd. Closely compacted well-groomed gentleman squeezes through the thick of the people of the tent camp in the middle of the square. This son of outgoing President Viktor Pinchuk, one of the pillars of the “criminal regime” in the jargon of the “orange” speechwriters. Some of the activists handed intruder leaflet. “Everything will be fine” — leaves Pinchuk sprawling autograph on her back.
In fact, reasons for optimism in a bit. It is not only programmed troubles, which he promises to rise to power of the “orange” and personally Yulia Tymoshenko. In your own home Pinchuk — the company “Interpipe” — for several months agonizing smoldering dispute with two minority partners, who worked with him since 1991.
Today, six years after the “Orange Revolution”, we can say that the forecast, which gave a frosty night Pinchuk on the Maidan, fully justified. “I am thankful for the fact that 2005 was. Then I realized keenly, who is a friend who is an enemy. I got the lessons that have helped me rethink a lot “- says Pinchuk, in December last year with great pomp celebrated its 50th anniversary. But if his fight with the government of Tymoshenko in August 2005 saw live the whole of Ukraine, the divorce with old partners went completely unnoticed. During the seven-hour interview Pinchuk strongly countered all attempts to learn about the division of property more than willing to tell it himself. But we still learned.
Victor Pinchuk was born in Kiev, but his homeland was Dnepropetrovsk. In the center of Soviet heavy industry career prospects for their parents was greater than in the capital of Soviet Ukraine. Victor’s father designed the steel mills, his mother taught at the Dnepropetrovsk Metallurgical Institute (DMetI). Gold medalist, Pinchuk wanted to learn from the psychiatrist. But in medical school documents had not accepted, and enrolled at Victor DMetI, where his specialty was the production of pipes.
“Our generation was lucky we were in the right place at the right time, with the necessary wealth of knowledge and relationships”, — says Pinchuk. He was lucky twice. First, the rapidly developing oil and gas industry in the USSR was in need of high-quality tubes, which had to be bought abroad. Secondly, to bring the socialist economy out of stagnation, the country’s leadership since the early 1980s, taking one after another, trying to economic reforms. One of them was the introduction of allowances for the official price list: businesses, which has engaged production of high quality, were allowed to sell it at higher prices. The hope was that the directors will actively introduce new technologies, as it will allow the state to save scarce foreign currency.
Pinchuk has not failed to take advantage of new opportunities. In 1987, a young employee of the All-Union Scientific Research Institute of the Pipe Industry (VNIITP) proposed that the leadership of Mogilev Metallurgical Plant deal. The plant is implementing its development, raises prices for consumers, then within a few years deducts “youth creative team”, led by Pinchuk — 7.5% of the profits. The scheme worked, the plant is listed honestly thousand sixty rubles to the account VNIITP, but management is not raised a hand to distribute the money to young innovators. Pinchuk paid 1,600 rubles, after which he decided to do business under the roof of the state structure is no more.
Pinchuk was the drummer of the original accumulation of capital. The scheme, which he run-in Mogilev plant “know-how — commodity — money,” provided the opportunity to earn up to 10 thousand rubles per month. A lot of the engineer, but the mere pittance compared to the financial flows that took place then through the centers of scientific and technical creativity of young people who have the right to cash non-cash Soviet rubles.
In 1990, together with his first wife, Helen Arshavoy Pinchuk has registered a small implementation enterprise “Interpipe” — such companies as the government once granted tax exemptions. Engineering — fun, but Pinchuk more clearly understood that the marking time until the economy is flying into a ditch.
Since it moved the ball rolling progressive disintegration of economic ties. In the summer of 1991, Pinchuk met in Moscow with Yulia Tymoshenko. She tried to put oil in the Dnipropetrovsk region. Oilers as the payment had not requested the money that is already worthless, and something tangible. At the request of Tymoshenko in August-September 1991, Pinchuk oilmen put several cars pipes.
In the autumn of 1991, when the Soviet Union de facto dissolved, Pinchuk cranks is much more complicated deal. At this time, cars and refrigerators purchased in Moscow at the Russian Commodity Exchange (money Pinchuk took Dnepropetrovsk branch of the bank Inco), Ukrainian miners arrived, they, in turn, shipped coal to the processing plant, which supplied coking coal to coke plant … At the end of a chain of Pinchuk’s fortune was waiting for — a few tens of thousands of tons of pipes. In contrast to the Soviet rubles, which were Pinchuk on savings bank, the capital has not burned down January 2, 1992, when prices were unfrozen in Russia and the Soviet savings at one point turned into nothing.
To turn this deal helped his classmate Pinchuk on DMetI Dementienko Alexander and Michael Schegolevsky Muscovite. Thus, the first de facto and then de jure “Interpipe”, two new partner. About a year later formed and the distribution of shares, and roles in the joint business: Arshava, Dementienko and Schegolevsky — by 12.5%, the rest — Pinchuk. Arshava responsible for the Bank Credit Dnepr, Dementienko — for current operations, Schegolevsky — for business, “Interpipe” in Russia. Pinchuk, according Dementienko, “oversaw the direction of the pipe and political” — in short, defines the strategy.
To build a chain of barter between individual plants Pinchuk quickly bored. “Not big and not systemically, — he explains. — It is interesting to work with countries and sectors. “In 1993, he negotiates the first such deal with the government of Uzbekistan. “President Islam Karimov signed a resolution that assumed a certain number of billions of irresponsible local money for the purchase of our company pipe diameter nuzhnogb them” — says Pinchuk. What to do with “insane billion” non-convertible currency? That somehow managed to convert a bank of Russia and Kazakhstan, something took no money, and cotton, zinc and copper.
In 1994, the business of “Interpipe” a new factor — the owner of the Dnepropetrovsk region Pavel Lazarenko. Lazarenko later go down in history as the most corrupt prime minister of Ukraine, and in the early 1990s, he imposed a tribute to the entire business on their territory. “Work has become more difficult,” — says Pinchuk. “Interpipe”, whose revenue in 1994 reached $ 300 million, could not escape the attention of the host region. Pinchuk then creates a corporation “Commonwealth” on an equal footing with the “Cube”, controlled by Yulia Tymoshenko, who was considered a protege of the governor. “She had good connections in Kiev and Moscow. It is the scale of thought, and we could complement each other “- explains Pinchuk. Distribution of shares — 50 to 50, “Commonwealth” two co-chairs — Pinchuk and Tymoshenko.
“Commonwealth” was engaged in the same things and “Interpipe” — changed the pipes for Central Asian gas, but the scale of business grew, according to Dementienko an order of magnitude. “All previous work can be called training, a pilot” — confirms Pinchuk.
Harmony was short-lived. In December 1995, Tymoshenko creates Corporation “Unified Energy System of Ukraine” (UESU). “She decided that all we have learned, and I thought, why share 50% of the profits?” — Recalls Dementienko. “We saw that the debts of the enterprises for gas rewritten to” Commonwealth “in UESU, began re-writing contracts,” — says Pinchuk.
Tymoshenko did not find the time to present their version of the conflict.
Peaceful divorce did not happen. In the summer of 1996 Pinchuk was kidnapped. Handcuffed businessman was allowed to make a call. Pinchuk Dementienko asked to contact the Chairman of Privatbank Sergei Tigipko and pass the requirement for redemption — $ 2 million. Tigipko, according to Pinchuk, “people connected correctly,” and two days later, the owner of “Interpipe” was released. On the future of the kidnappers and ransom paid to him is not known.
Was the kidnapping is related to the conflict around the “Commonwealth”? “I still have no reason to think so” — responds Pinchuk. Another thing is that while he was in captivity, officials crossed out “Interpipe” from the list of authorized dealers gas.
Pinchuk has attempted to return to the gas business. In Moscow, he was introduced to the owner of the gas trader “Itera” Igor Makarov. In Makarov had serious connections in “Gazprom” and Turkmenistan, which allowed him to get serious amounts of gas for export, but he could not sell to consumers in the CIS that could not pay for the fuel cache. Experience Pinchuk allowed to finish the chain and drive it made a strong impression on others. “It was such a good machismo — says the president of Alfa-Bank, Pyotr Aven, acquainted with Pinchuk in the mid-1990s. — The man responsible for his words, plus a seemingly real Europeans, not “scoop”.
In 1997, Pinchuk, head of the board of directors, “Itera”, and became its CEO Schegolevsky. “We had an agreement on exchange of shares — says Schegolevsky. — “Itera” was to receive 30% of “Interpipe” and vice versa. ” Prior to that, did not reach: in 1998, strained relations with Makarov, Pinchuk and Schegolevsky resigned from their posts in the “Itera”. They had something to do without it. Lazarenko in July 1997 and resigned from his post as prime minister in Ukraine began a new phase of privatization, Pinchuk and knew that he must participate in it.
Few would have thought in the spring of 2004, which fall presidential elections turn into a rehearsal for the Civil War.
Surrounded by Kuchma had different ideas about who move to succeed. Pinchuk championed the candidacy of the National Bank Sergei Tigipko. But, as remarked in his biography of second Ukrainian presidential political analyst Kost Bondarenko, Tigipko was “too glamorous and polished in a country which is poor overall cultural and material level.” To look convincing candidate full-grown economic planner, Transport Minister Georgy Kirpa, not to mention the energetic prime minister Viktor Yanukovich, who is put coal and steel magnates of Donbass. Once in mid-April, Kuchma chose Yanukovych, Pinchuk has expressed loyalty to a single candidate, and promised his support.
By this time, “Interpipe” has become one of the largest industrial groups in the former Soviet Union. He owned five tube mills, the largest in the CIS Nikopol Ferroalloy Plant, the shares in the three major ore processing plant. In orbit “Interpipe” network companies included in the Luhansk and Dnipropetrovsk regions, the Bank Credit Dnepr and Ukrsotsbank, the insurance company “Orans”. But Pinchuk was not just a businessman. He was twice elected to the Verkhovna Rada, where he created the faction “Labor Ukraine”, which is sometimes simply called “faction GІinchuka.” He owned three national television — ІSTU STB and “New”. In 2002 he designed a unique relationship with the president’s daughter Helen, a romance with which he began in 1997. Pinchuk resented being called an oligarch, but in 2004 in Ukraine was not a man who would better fit this concept, combining in one person business, media and power.
June 14, 2004 Pinchuk sealed an alliance with the “Donetsk”. The consortium “Investment Metallurgical Union”, in which the share was divided between Pinchuk and Donetsk businessmen (Rinat Akhmetov and Boris Kolesnikov) in a ratio of 44:56 for $ 800 million acquired in a privatization tender largest metallurgical complex of Ukraine “Krivorozhstal”. Competition terms were formulated so as to cut off foreign applicants — most notably the Indian Mittal Steel and the Russian “Evrazholding” and “Severstal”.
Later, Pinchuk has repeatedly said that the “Krivorozhku” the state had received twice as many than in all the steel mills, privatized earlier. But on the eve of the election campaign, this argument could hardly be heard, especially the opposition. The fact was that the state could get a “Krivorozhstal” more, if not artificial constraints.
Sale of “Krivorozhstal” was one of the main reasons for the polarization of the two political camps. Pinchuk formerly been able to maintain good relations with the environment of Viktor Yushchenko (despite the fact that the faction Pinchuk voted in 2001 for the resignation of Yushchenko as prime minister), but after the “Orange” announced the privatization tender for “stealing”, the bridges were burned.
In May 2004, Dementienko Pinchuk proposed to divide the business. He readily agreed. For 13 years, partners are tired of each other. Minority annoying tendency Pinchuk put in key positions, “Vikings,” it too often, in their opinion, “went on the principle of” losing money because of disagreements with then Tymoshenko, then with Makarov. Pinchuk today admitted that there was another, more important reason that pushed its partners to action — waiting for new leadership. “I have become radioactive,” — he said. However, the proposal to Schegolevskomu on property addressed himself Pinchuk.
After her divorce from Arshavoy in 1997 the share of the ex-wife in “Interpipe” came under the control Pinchuk. The rest of the ownership structure “Interpipe” was very confusing. Part of the assets has been issued to Pinchuk, a part — to a company controlled by Schegolevskim Dementienko and that since September of 2004, according to Dementienko, “decided to go together” and take a common negotiating position.
While the country’s raging political storms, the partners’ inventory and appraisal of the property company. As a result, assets to be division, were estimated at $ 3 billion. These are not treated “Krivorozhstal”, banks and television stations owned by Pinchuk personally. Thus, the share of younger partners had assets of 750 million dollars.
The coming to power of “orange” messed things up. Following the appointment of Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko Pinchuk had to wage war on multiple fronts. The Government has begun to re-irivatizatsii “Kryvorizhstal” and actually sided with the group “Privat”, challenge the results of privatization of the NFP, which resulted in “Interpipe” purchased for $ 80 million controlling stake in the company. In addition, the “orange” intervened in the divorce of partners.
Here, the testimony of the parties diverge. According to Pinchuk, after the “Orange Revolution” of his partners had “decided to increase the” efficiency “of separation.” “They have attracted some of the” orange “leaders for some motivation,” — says Pinchuk. Dementienko confirms that the business of “orange” camp showed interest in the assets “Interpipe”, in particular to the insurance company “Orans”. However, to involve them in negotiations with Pinchuk junior partners, according to Dementienko, not steel. The only “outsider” was Konstantin Grigorishin, who really had a good connection with the “orange”, in particular close to Yushchenko, Petro Poroshenko.
In April 2005, the Economic Court of Kyiv annulled deal on the privatization of “Krivorozhstal”. In the autumn the plant was sold at auction for $ 4.8 billion steel company, Arcelor Mittal. Parallel unfolding struggle for NFP. Shortly after the court decision “Kryvorizhstal” Prime Pinchuk caused to talk about the future of NFP. Pinchuk her arguments did not convince. Like “Krivorozhstal”, a majority of NFP privatized at tenders to participate in them were not admitted to all comers — including “privatovtsy,” which promised to pay for state block more “Interpipe”. In July 2005, 50% +1 share of NFP were arrested by the court. In late summer, “Private” was replaced by the factory management at an extraordinary meeting of its shareholders, but for the operational management of new top managers are not allowed. August 31 Pinchuk, gathered at the entrance of the plant about fifteen hundred workers at the rally, which was broadcast all three of his television. The next morning he phoned the president, said he saw the broadcast on TV. A week later, Yushchenko sent a cabinet to resign.
Negotiating with its partners, meanwhile skidded. The parties could not agree on price and allocated from the “Interpipe” assets. Junior partners have applied an armlock. In 2004, about 20% of the shares were issued at USB’s they control the company. Schegolevsky compares the situation with the divorce process: you can share with my wife apartment, but you can not take a wedding ring. “Ukrsotsbank — a ring of his wife, is not subject to division, it’s Victor Mikhailovich, no matter what it was legally recorded, and the apartment — it’s” Interpipe “apartment we shared,” — says ex-partner. Nonetheless, membership in the wedding ring has been called into question.
In autumn 2005, the banking market of Ukraine surged Western capital. There were pretenders and Ukrsotsbank. “In the first tender was attended by Ukrainian business groups, Alfa-Bank, OTP Bank, Intesa and a number of large bank of international groups,” — says Igor Jusko, who was in charge of “Interpipe” for financial direction. He won the Italian Intesa, has proposed a 85.42% stake in $ 1.2 billion. Pinchuk has already begun to effect a deal, but then stepped in and Dementienko Schegolevsky. “We set a condition that will not give up a stake in the bank, while not pay us to” Interpipe “- recalls Dementienko. The day before the signing of an agreement with Intesa to sell Ukrsotsbank, in February 2006, the Cyprus-based company Tempsford Investments Ltd, for which there were junior partners Pinchuk, announced that it intends the courts to defend their rights violated during the additional issue of 300 million hryvnia. On the other hand pressed “privatovtsy” who bought a few shares of Intesa and demanded not to buy Ukrsotsbank. The Italians were on their guard, the deal is hung.
The conflict around the bank led to the acceleration of the divorce proceedings. In June 2006, former partners have signed an agreement on the division of assets. On what they have left?
One partner said on condition of anonymity that the value of assets, and departed Dementienko Schegolevskomu, amounted to about $ 400 million — almost two times less than before the conflict began. About $ 100 million they received in cash. They also withdrew two network companies, 38.6% of the Mogilev Metallurgical Plant and a few other small businesses. “We parted in such a way as not to be associated anywhere — says Schegolevsky. — It was one of the principles of divorce. ”
Pinchuk has had another reason to celebrate. Because of a dispute with the partners and the group “Privat” deal with Intesa first hung, and then completely abolished. The second tender was won Unicredit Group, which offered 95% of USB’s 2.2 billion dollars. “So thanks to minority shareholders of Intesa Bank, we have sold nearly 1 billion dollars more” — smiles Pinchuk.
Pinchuk recalls in 2005 with glowing eyes. “When I stood in defense of Nikopol Ferroalloy with the workers, I experienced emotions, the likes of which has been and never will be, — says the founder of the” Labor Ukraine “. — It was very difficult and interesting time. I certainly would not change it for anything. ”
“Orange Revolution” uprising known as the millionaires against the billionaires. The uprising failed. “Nedooligarham” could not take the place of the Kuchma era oligarchs. Perhaps the case in some sixth sense that separates the owners of the fabulous state of the rest of humanity? “Mandatory quality of every billionaire — do not see the horizon of possibility. I see the goal, I see no obstacles — says Pinchuk. — It is important that when you charge the energy of others, do not believe in success. ” And unlike an ordinary businessman, making money, a billionaire by Pinchuk, makes history.
In April 2007, the Supreme Court overturned the court decision on the illegality of the privatization of the NFP. Pinchuk and Kolomoisky went to the world, whose conditions were not disclosed. According to Pinchuk, with Kolomoisky they now “neighbors” not only on NFP. “Together we entered into various Ukrainian assets, and my share in these assets, to put it mildly, not less than his,” — says he Kolomoisky saying that the share Pinchuk on NFP does not exceed 20%. The section “old” “Interpipe” and reconciliation with old enemies were on the background of a major restructuring of the business Pinchuk. In 2007, the management of core businesses Pinchuk was concentrated in the company EastOne. “Interpipe” has become a holding company dealing exclusively with the production of pipes and wheels. The global crisis has hit hard on the company, as well as on all branches, tied to investments in fixed capital: earnings fell sharply, the company was forced to restructure its obligations under the Eurobonds. Its revenues last year amounted to $ 1.2 billion. In March 2011, Forbes estimated his fortune at Pinchuk 3.1 billion.
Union Dementienko — Schegolevsky since 2006 did not break up. They continue to control 38.6% of Mogilev Metallurgical Plant, in October 2007, bought a stake in the plant “Fregat”, engaged in agriculture in Russia and Ukraine. They each have their own business. Dementienko owns a factory which mainly manufactures wind turbines, the Schegolevskogo share online lingerie stores, “Wild Orchid”.
Pinchuk remains open for only one issue raised by the revolution. The consortium, which acquired “Krivorozhstal” on first auction, the company challenged the re-privatization in the Strasbourg court. “We are patiently waiting for the decision in 2006 — says Pinchuk. — It can bring big surprises for Ukraine. ”
Fire, Water, and Pipes
The Way of the engineers in the oligarchs Pinchuk was very fast. In 1980 he earned applied science, in 1990 exchanged for gas pipes, and in the early 2000s he became a member owned industrial empire and three national television channels.
1995: “Community” with Tymoshenko
“Interpipe” and company “CUBE: Yulia Tymoshenko to create parity corporation” Commonwealth “, which for years supplied the gas to Ukraine from Russia and Turkmenistan in exchange for the pipe, while Tymoshenko has established UESU.
Conflict with Tymoshenko and Pavlo Lazarenko Pinchuk forces withdraw from the gas business. His steal and released after a ransom of $ 2 million. Pinchuk moved to Moscow to head the board of directors of the gas trader “Itera”.
Having received the blessing of Leonid Kuchma, Pinchuk won the parliamentary election, which is written in the pro-presidential one of the factions. A year later, along with Andriy Derkach creates fraction “Labor Ukraine”.
Together with Rinat Akhmetov, Pinchuk bought for $ 800 million of the country’s largest metallurgical plant “Krivorozhstal”. Presidential candidate Viktor Yushchenko, who called the deal “theft”, wins the election.
“Krivorozhstal” re-privatized: ArcelorMittal paid for it $ 4.8 billion. After trying to capture NFP, shown live on TV Pinchuk, President Viktor Yushchenko dismisses Tymoshenko’s government.
Pinchuk concludes the restructuring of its assets. All of his businesses transferred under the control of EastOne Group. In Dnepropetrovsk, “Interpipe” together with the Italian Danieli begins construction of its fourth pipe factory.
Time magazine included Pinchuk in the top 25 most influential intellectuals of the world. “Interpipe”, demand for which has fallen sharply, allows for a technical default on Eurobonds and is seeking a debt restructuring.
Kuchma of Pinchuk
In his book “After Maidan” ex-president of Ukraine makes no mention of Victor Pinchuk. But few excerpts from her do a lot more sense.
– In the Komsomol and the trade union, party and other officials in the original Ukrainian business, new, previously completely unknown person. That’s nothing to them is not easily given. They had not been asked and no waiting. They had to overcome enormous difficulties, to show the wonders of ingenuity and head … Everyone had to find a niche in the national economy and to pave, plow her way. And then manage to fix, but it is no less difficult. Our Ukrainian representatives of this breed I respect more than their Russian counterparts. We do not have industries such as oil and gas production, where you can get quick results and abundant, though not necessary to plow too hard (like plowing Khodorkovsky )…
“The Russian capitalist — a Russian capitalist” — not once have I heard in the Kremlin. I just nodded and added: “A capitalist Ukrainian — Ukrainian is a capitalist.” At the same “Kryvorizhstal” — a closed production cycle. We have our own coking coal, its iron ore. Sell ??a business to foreigners — so as to wrest the company from a country from the domestic economy. The owner of the alien can begin to dictate the terms of our industry …
Its capitalist can invite Bankova, precede it with a glass of tea or pour a glass and say it sincerely, “You listen, let’s go into our situation. Come together to raise agricultural machinery … ” And he, a capitalist is not going anywhere, will work not only for themselves but also to Ukraine. And with such talk to be a Hindu can not …
Forbes Ukraine — № 1, “Winter oligarch»