Rapidly growing Russian group Karat adding Murmansk fishing giant to its recent acquisitions

February 8, 2012 11:16

In the end of January 2012 one of the biggest Russian fishing companies Murmansk Trawl Fleet (MTF) finally sold the bulk of its shares to a group of Russian share holders controlling fishing companies under the umbrella of fast-growing fishing giant Karat Holding, reports http://www.megafishnet.com/.

More specifically, as a result of the deal (commercial details of which stayed undisclosed) about 87% of MTF's shares were handed over to Karat. Mr. Valery Tsukanov was appointed the company's CEO, the man well known in Murmansk business circles as an experienced and successful director of such big companies of ZAO Karat, ZAO Karat-1 and ZAO RK Sogra.

The total capture quota 2012 of Murmansk Trawl Fleet and its daughter Murmansk Gubernsky Flot amounts to about 31,800 MT of cod, 12,400 MT of haddock, 19,900 MT of capelin, 15,800 MT of herring, 17400 MT of blue whiting and 1,500 MT of mackerel in the fishing zone of the Faroese Islands. Along with the above the company has small quotas for fishery of ocean perch and black halibut.

Moreover, MTF is one of a few companies in the Russian Northwest which have been certified by MSC.

According to Mr. Tsukanov, no drastic changes in the company's operations are planned. Its new leadership confirms the need to pursue a balanced and efficient social policy. At the same time, the new CEO has mentioned some of their targets to be challenged, they include renewal of the fishing fleet, introduction of new technologies for onboard value added processing of catches and raising seafood quality and labor conditions for the firm's crews.


It is worth mentioning that Karat recently purchased two big companies at Russia's Pacific: Roliz in Vladivostok and Akros at Kamchatka. Added to UTF, Karat fishing assets at Pacific made it one of the largest operators and, in particular, pollock quota holders. 

Roliz currently owns 3 large (BATM class) trawlers: Archer, Ardatov, Amadei. The firm owns about 4% of squid quota, about 3% of Pollock (roughly 27,000MT in 2011), 5.5% of Olutorsky herring, 1.3% of Okhotsk herring, and token quotas for crabs and prawns. In A season 2011 the company produced 873MT of pollock roe only. The company's annual proceeds amount to USD 30-32mln, EBITDA - USD 8-9mln and net profit - USD 5-5.5mln.

Kamchatka-based Akros holds pollock quotas of about 52,400 MT in 2011 and UTF owns pollock quotas of nearly 12,000 MT.

Acquisition of the above mentioned three companies by Karat has made it the third biggest pollock quota holders in the Russian Far East with the total quota of 91,400 MT. (In terms of quota volumes Karat gives way only to Okeanrybflot with 102,000 MT and NBAMR with 102,000 MT.)

In Murmansk-led North Basin ZAO Karat and ZAO Karat-1 own cod and haddock quotas of about 14,000 MT of cod and 6,020 MT of haddock in 2011 to name just a few members of Karat Holding in the area.


According to Commersant, Karat is owned by ex deputy chairman of Russia's State Fisheries Committee Alexander Tugushev and his ex-compatriot and now citizen of Switzerland Vitaly Orlov who is owner of Norwegian fishing combine Ocean Trawlers currently operating 16 fishing vessels in Murmansk and UTF Company in Kamchatka.

After graduating from Murmansk Marine Engineer College Mr. Tugushev worked as captain's mate in Murmansk Trawl Fleet until 1990. In 1990-1998 he worked for fish companies of Sigma, Kona International, Sovintrade LTD and Karat. In 1998-1999 Mr. Tugushev was appointed director of Murmansk Trawl Fleet-3 JSC, a member of the same called consortium. In 1999-2002 he was vice-president of Murmansk Trawl Fleet Consortium. In 2002-2003 Mr. Tugushev was president of Murmanrybprom. In 2003 he was appointed deputy chairman of Russia's State Committee on Fisheries. In 2004 the Government commissioned Mr. Tugushev to preside liquidation commission due to the Committee's transformation into currently functioning Federal Fisheries Agency. Later he left the government service to switch to business activities.

According to media sources, now Mr. Tugushev is an actual owner of 10 large fishing companies in the Russian Northwest (Murmansk, Arkhangelsk and Karelia) and two large fishing companies in the nation's Far East.

Consolidation process is under way in Russian fishing industry, and probably soon we'll see even more mergers and takeovers. This process will give the beneficiaries involved especially in the whitefish sector more power both on export and domestic market.

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