Control over the manufacturer of domestic processors “Baikal Electronics” passed to the structures of the co-owner of the Astra Linux group Denis Frolov. The deal was closed in early June, according to Kommersant’s information, the businessman received more than 70%. Taking into account the new requirements for import substitution of processors in the public sector, experts estimate Baikal Electronics at 3–6 billion rubles. In their opinion, integration with a domestic software developer will allow the company to seriously improve its position in the market.
In early June, the manufacturer of lighting equipment – the Varton group of companies (80% of the company from Denis Frolov and 20% – from Ilya Sivtsev) closed a deal to acquire control in the Russian processor manufacturer Baikal Electronics JSC, a representative of the latter told Kommersant and confirmed buyer. The parties refused to disclose the details of the transaction and the new ownership structure, specifying only that the purchase was carried out through an additional issue of shares. A Kommersant source familiar with the negotiations said that Varton received more than 70% of the shares in Baikal Electronics. According to SPARK-Interfax, in the course of the additional issue, the company’s authorized capital increased 45 times in April, from 7.7 million to 346 million rubles.
According to Sergei Ovchinnikov, the general director of Norsi-Trans, the price of the transaction was determined, among other things, by the requirements of the Ministry of Industry and Trade on the use of domestic processors in servers and data storage systems for the public sector. Considering the potential explosive growth of orders, the value of the Baikal Electronics business could be 3–6 billion rubles, believes Sergey Solovyov, general director of the T1 group.
Baikal Electronics was founded in 2012 and is engaged in the development of processors on the ARM and MIPS architecture. The first product was Baikal-T1, released in 2015; for the entire period of its production, Taiwanese TSMC produced 50 thousand pieces. In 2016, the Ministry of Industry and Trade provided the company with a subsidy of RUB 1.2 billion. for the development of the Baikal-M microprocessor using 28 nm technology. It came out a year late. In December, “Baikal Electronics” announced an order from TSMC for 13 thousand processors, a total of three batches of at least 213 thousand are planned. According to its own data, 55% of “Baikal Electronics” previously owned the fund of infrastructure and educational programs “Rusnano” through “T-Nano” , and 45% – “T-Platforms” (25% owned by VEB.RF and 75% by Vsevolod Opanasenko). In 2020, Baikal Electronics received 498 million rubles. loss at 13.8 million rubles. revenue.
The fact that Denis Frolov may receive a stake in Baikal Electronics became known in the fall of 2020 (see Kommersant dated October 27, 2020). The businessman is also a co-owner of the Astra Linux Group of Companies, a developer of the domestic operating system. Recently, Mr. Frolov became president of the National Computer Corporation, which includes one of the largest Russian manufacturers of storage systems and servers, the Aquarius group (see Kommersant dated June 2), and is negotiating the acquisition of a controlling stake in the company (see Kommersant ”Dated May 27).
Kommersant’s interlocutors in the microelectronics market suggest that Mr. Frolov intends to build an IT holding, which will include manufacturers of processors, equipment and software developers. A Kommersant source familiar with the course of negotiations on both deals agrees with this, adding that the holding may become “another major player in the market.”
Alexey Smirnov, the chairman of the board of directors of Basalt SPO, believes that “taking into account the protectionist policy of the Ministry of Industry and Trade,” purchases by the Russian public sector of domestic equipment, including servers and storage systems, will increase significantly in the next three years. Now there is a revision of the principles for including software in the register of the Ministry of Digital Science (government agencies and state companies are guided by it when purchasing) – “there is a mandatory software compatibility with Russian processors,” says Sergei Solovyov. The players remaining in the register will be able to take dominant positions in the Russian market due to the opportunity to participate in public procurement. To strengthen its position, “Baikal” had to either buy a software developer or put such a company into its capital, which happened, “he explains.
At the same time, emphasizes Alexey Smirnov, domestic processor manufacturers are not able to fully meet the demand of the state. “TSMC does not have time to fulfill orders of not only Russian, but also foreign companies. The queue for silicon with modern topology stretches for many months, ”he says.