Who is the new owner of Murmansk Port?
It is not clear who is behind the company Garcia, which is buying 47,6 percent of the Murmansk Commercial Sea Port for 7,65 billion RUB (€180 million).
The Sankt Petersburg-based company Garcia is buying the 46,65 percent stake in the port from the companies Laterium Commercial Limited and Specialized Project Investments. The two companies, which are believed to be owned by Nikolai Yegorov and Soslan Khorebov, have until now controlled respectively 12,68 and 34,97 percent of the port.
As BarentsObserver previously reported, several powerful groups, among them structures belonging to Oleg Deripaska and Gennady Timchenko, were believed to bid for the important port, the biggest in the world north of the Arctic Circle.
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However, it is not clear whether some of these structures are involved in the acquisition or not. According to Gazeta.ru, the Garcia company was established in July 2011 with a founding capital of 10000 RUB . The registered owner of the company is a man with the name Andrey Uchitel. However, he rejects any link with Deripaska or Timchenko.
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Speculations are now running high in Murmansk about who is behind the deal. According to not confirmed information from the Moscow Post, Gennady Timchenko is afterall the man behind Garcia.
The sale of the shares was made in an auction organized by the Russian Federal Property Agency (Rosimushchestvo) this week. The starting price for bidders was 7.5 billion RUB, Gazeta.ru reports.
The Port of Murmansk is one of Russia’s biggest coal ports. It is also a key unit in the rapidly growing Arctic shipping, as well as the plans for regional hydrocarbon field development, and handles significant volumes of mineral ore, metals and oil products.
The port was in 2010 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.