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Coal company takes control of Murmansk Port

Murmansk coal harbor

The company SDS-Ugol is behind the aquisition of a controlling stake in the Port of Murmansk.

With the aquisition of 63,5 percent of the shares in the Russian Arctic port, the coal company SDS-Ugol secures full control of the maritime hub, the second biggest in Northwest Russia.

According to sources close to the company, the coal producer operated in cooperation with the St. Petersburg-based Garcia, the company which was declared as the offical winner of the tender held early November this year, newspaper Kommersant reports.

As previously reported, it was long not clear who was behind the Garcia company. Several analysts believed that it was busiess tycoon Gennady Timchenko who was the man behind the deal.

Read also: Who is the new owner of the Murmansk Port?

The SDS-Ugol is controlled by the businessmen Mikhail Fedyaev and Vladimir Gridin and their Sibirsky Delovoy Soyuz. The company is operating mainly in the Kusbass-region and in 2010 produced a total of 13,3 million tons of coal, the company informs. The sellers of the shares are the companies Laterium Commercial Limited and Specialized Project Investments, owned by respectively Nikolai Yegorov and Soslan Khorebov.

The Russian state controls another 25 percent of the port. However, this stake will soon be up for privatization.

The speculations about the port´s future do however not seem to end with the clarification of the port buyers. According to Kommersant, several analysts still believe that Gennady Timchenko has a finger in the deal and that he is the one who eventually will take over the port control.

Coal accounts for the lion´s share of goods handled by the Murmansk Sea Port. In the first nine months of 2011, the port handled a total of 11 million tons of goods, of which about eight million was coal. The remaining three million tons was metal ore (1,5 million tons) and fertilisers (1,5 million tons). The port is also a key unit in the rapidly growing Arctic shipping, as well as the plans for regional hydrocarbon field development.

Read also: Murmansk signed deal on free economic port zone zone

In 2010, the port was granted status as special economic port zone, something which is expected to boost its popularity among investors. The enhanced port status is also believed to help prepare the ground for the major upcoming developments linked with the Shtokman gas project in the Barents Sea.