They took to the fields in boots

As it became known to Kommersant, a new large agricultural holding with a well-known beneficiary could appear in the Russian agro-industrial complex. According to indirect data, Agroinnovation, which owns sugar and dairy factories, as well as 44 thousand hectares of agricultural land in the Kursk and Belgorod regions, is associated with the president of CSKA Yevgeny Giner. A new player enters the market at a time when the state actively uses quotas and duties on it, which will lead to a decrease in the profitability of agribusiness in the future.

A Kommersant source in a large agricultural holding said that the president of the football club Yevgeny Giner has interests in agribusiness, he may be associated with the Agroinnovation holding with assets in the Kursk and Belgorod regions. The interlocutor of Kommersant calls Mr. Giner the real beneficiary of the holding.

15.4 million hectares

controlled by the largest owners of agricultural land according to the BEFL version

Indirectly, this information is confirmed by data from the Unified State Register of Legal Entities, according to which 90% of Agroinnovation belongs to Vika Dasnya, 10% belongs to General Director Fyodor Bezhanov. Ms. Dasny is also listed as the owner of the Yakhonty Oteli.ru management company, which manages the Yakhonty hotels near Moscow. The company’s board of directors is headed by Evgeny Giner. Agroinnovation was registered in June 2019 in Moscow in the VEB Arena business center, where the CSKA office is located. A number of legal entities are also registered there, where shares belong to Mr. Giner. The press service of CSKA and Agroinnovation did not provide any comments. It was not possible to contact Evgeny Giner, Vika Dasnya and Fyodor Bezhanov.

Agroinnovation operates the Bolshevik and Lgovsky sugar factories with a processing capacity of 750 thousand tons of beets per year. It grows about 120 thousand tons of wheat, barley, corn and other things per year on 44 thousand hectares. The holding also includes a bakery plant with a storage capacity of 70 thousand tons of grain, a farm for 2.6 thousand heads, as well as the Lgovskiy Dairy Cannery, which produces condensed milk and butter under the Tsarskaya Burenka brand. In 2019, Agroinnovation entered into an agreement with the administration of the Kursk region on the intention to invest 12.8 billion rubles in business development.

Most of the assets of “Agroinnovation” used to be part of the once one of the large agricultural holdings “Razgulay”. In 2009, “Razgulay” defaulted on bonds worth 8 billion rubles, which led to the loss of assets. Some of them went to “Rusagro” ex-senator Vadim Moshkovich and the Agrocomplex. NI Tkachev family of the former head of the Ministry of Agriculture Alexander Tkachev.

There have already been cases in Russia when large businessmen turned out to be the owners of assets in the agro-industrial complex. So, the founders of the head structure of the large landowner Rosagro (renamed Rostagro in 2017) in the Unified State Register of Legal Entities in different years were listed as Iman Aliyeva and Magomed Khatsiev, but the owners of Binbank were considered the real beneficiaries. After the reorganization of B&N Bank in 2017, the Rostagro farms entered the Trust Bank. The owner of the White Bird holding was called Promsvyaz Capital B. V., which was previously managed by the former owners of Promsvyazbank Dmitry and Alexey Ananyev. According to Javid Eyyubov, a lawyer at KSK Group, such schemes are often used to optimize taxes, reduce the risks of subsidiary liability and conceal assets, for example, in divorce proceedings.

Dmitry Rylko, head of the Institute for Agricultural Market Studies, notes that crop production in the Kursk and Belgorod regions can be profitable, and the location allows grain to be supplied both to the domestic market and for export. Here, he adds, vertically integrated agricultural holdings also operate, because the agricultural land market is very competitive. The director of Sovekon, Andrey Sizov, considers land, the value of which is estimated at 3–3.5 billion rubles, to be the most understandable and significant asset of Agroinnovation. But, the expert warns, the profitability of crop production, while maintaining the current state approach to regulation through quotas and duties, will fall.

Anatoly Kostyrev