Is Vladmorrybport sailing overseas?

"Vladivostok Sea Fishing Port" is a stevedoring company in the port of Vladivostok. It is the legal successor of the state enterprise of the same name, which dates back to 1938. The port covers an area of over 370 thousand square meters. m, 146 thousand of which are open warehouses. This is a universal transshipment complex capable of processing fish products and handling various types of cargo. Production facilities are located at 10 berths of the port of Vladivostok with depths from 9.75 to 11.5 meters. The net profit of the OJSC in 2022 is 419,765 thousand rubles.

A new redistribution is brewing at OJSC Vladivostok Sea Fishing Port . The port is controlled by the former governor of Primorye, Sergei Darkin, and the current governor, Oleg Kozhemyako. However, in the foreseeable future, a new participant may gain control over the port.

Vladmorrybport " has never been a safe haven, but in recent years it has been an uninterrupted supplier of conflicting and scandalous news. This is caused by the dual power that has developed in the company, where the interests of Darkin and Kozhemyako collide.
The former governor of Primorye has a controlling stake. The main owner of the stevedore, according to the list of affiliates of the JSC at the beginning of 2024, is Geotex LLC (Moscow), which owns 51.9% of the authorized capital (52.14% of ordinary shares). According to the Unified State Register of Legal Entities, 67.99% of the capital of Geotex is owned by Tiger-Infrastructure LLC (Moscow), 22.01% is owned by the president and owner of PJSC TIGER Darkin, 10% is owned by the partner of the ex-governor Dmitry Martynov. Darkin acquired his share in Geotex LLC at the beginning of this year; before that, 90% was owned by TIGR-Infrastructure, which is controlled by Larisa Belobrova, Darkin’s wife, through Dalinvestgroup.
The second largest shareholder of Vladmorrybport is the person of the current governor Oleg Kozhemyako - Alexander Evdokimov, who owns 47.371% (47.6% of ordinary) shares. He is also the general director of FILI Trading House LLC and other companies associated with the family of the current governor of Primorye Oleg Kozhemyako.

At the beginning of 2024, the representation of the main shareholders on the board of directors of Vladmorrybport corresponded to their shares.
The seats on the board of directors among the majority shareholders were distributed as follows: 5 out of 9 seats were taken by representatives of Geotex LLC, controlled by Sergei Darkin. These are Evgeny Baluev, Valery Martynov, Sergey Peredriy, Alexey Vazhenin and Alexander Shumatov.

The remaining 4 seats on the board of directors are held by those pursuing Kozhemyako’s interests. These are Alexander Evdokimov, Denis Sarana, Vyacheslav Smirnov and Maxim Kravchenko.

In mid-February 2024, the board of directors held a regular meeting, at which a new list of candidates was proposed for election to the board of directors of Vladmorrybport of the next convocation. This will happen at the annual general meeting of shareholders based on the results of 2023, apparently in June. The list of candidates for the new top management body differs from the current one in several respects.

In particular, the new list is missing two people from Darkin’s team - Vazhenin and Shumatov. But new faces appeared - Andrei Zverev, Roman Yamshchikov, Vitaly Shershen. Roman Yamshchikov is a candidate from Evdokimov (Kozhemyako). But Zverev and Shershen, apparently, were nominated by Geotex (Darkin). Zverev heads the board of Primorye Bank, in which the wife of the ex-governor Larisa Belobrova is a major shareholder. In turn, Shershen is connected with Darkin through the Association of Pollock Miners, in which Darkin’s structures are among the founders.

The list of candidates corresponding to the current balance of power in the company should not be misleading. The fact that changes are coming in the composition of Vladmorrybport shareholders is indicated by two circumstances. On the one hand, shareholders representing the interests of the Kozhemyako family in the company demonstrate a formal desire to increase their share. At the end of February, Alexander Evdokimov sent a mandatory offer to the minority shareholders to buy out shares. The deadline for accepting applications for sale from minority shareholders expires in May. The minority shareholders of the stevedoring company, according to the annual financial statements of Vladmorrybport for 2022, include Denis Sarana (0.16%), Alexey Sarana (0.11%) and other individuals (0.46%).

On the other hand, the owner of a controlling stake in Vladmorrybport took a step towards losing ownership of the port. At the end of March, the total 90% of Geotex controlled by Darkin (his share and the share of Tiger-Infrastructure LLC) was pledged to entrepreneur Arkady Pinchevsky. Since information about the pledge agreement is kept secret, some media outlets have suggested that the current shareholders of Vladmorrybport are preparing a large-scale operation to sell the stevedoring company. All things considered, this is a very likely scenario.

The fact that Darkin’s shares in Vladmorrybport were pledged to Pinchevsky did not accidentally make journalists talk about the port’s imminent transfer to the latter’s control. According to some reports, earlier Pinchevsky offered Darkin to sell a controlling stake in the enterprise. Having received a refusal, he used administrative pressure. Pinchevsky is friends with the head of Rosrybolovstvo, Ilya Shestakov. The subsidiary of Rosrybolovstvo, Natsrybresurs, owns the berths, which the port has leased for 49 years since 2017. “Natsrybresurs” filed a lawsuit to terminate the lease agreement with the port due to violations by the port of certain points of the investment program. The trial dragged on for three years. But as a result, FSUE “Natsrybresurs”, through the Arbitration Court of the Primorsky Territory, terminated the lease agreement. Berths No. 44 - 54 with all inseparable improvements must now be returned to the state-owned enterprise.

The port cannot operate without berths. Now Darkin’s structures are making desperate attempts to save the enterprise. A subsidiary of Vladmorrybport, Vladivostok Fish Terminal LLC (VRT), filed a lawsuit in the Moscow Arbitration Court against the stevedoring company itself and the Federal State Unitary Enterprise National Fisheries Resources. The Far East Development Corporation was involved as a third party. The purpose of the VRT application is “to invalidate part of the contract.” In other words, VRT wants to challenge that part of its obligations, the failure of which threatens to leave the port without berths.

VRT is the first resident of the Free Port of Vladivostok. The company entered preferential treatment with a project to modernize specialized refrigeration and storage infrastructure for transshipment and storage of at least 500 thousand tons of fish, fish products and seafood. It was because of this project that Vladmorrybport had its current problems. VRT completed the modernization of the “refrigerator” later than planned - according to the contract, the facility was supposed to be commissioned in August 2021, but in fact it was put into operation in May 2022. On this basis, “Natsrybresurs” decided to terminate the berth lease agreement.

In the new trial, Sergei Darkin’s structures are also inferior for now. On April 10 of this year, the Moscow Arbitration Court, represented by Judge Natalya Chekmareva, decided to refuse to satisfy the claims of VRT. The plaintiff has a month to appeal this decision to the Ninth Arbitration Court of Appeal. And although Darkin still has a chance to retain control of the port, the April decision of Judge Chekmareva brings him one step closer to losing the port.

By the way, the property of Darkin’s largest asset, PJSC Nakhodka Active Marine Fisheries Base (NBAM), was previously seized to the extent of the value of the claim filed by the Sakhalin tax office, which is trying to recover almost 40 million rubles from the fishing enterprise. NBAMR is the guarantor of Peschanskoe LLC, which controls Ruskor LLC - Sergei Darkin’s share is 55 percent. The threat of bankruptcy loomed over Peschanskoye LLC back in 2022, but the Sakhalin tax office, Peschanskoye LLC and its guarantor, NBAMR, then managed to conclude a settlement agreement.

Defeats in court could well have influenced the intractable Sergei Darkin and pushed him to sell a controlling stake in Vladmorrybport. In this scenario, the transfer of a controlling stake in the company as collateral to Arkady Pinchevsky may be one of the elements of the deal for Darkin to sell his share. One can only guess about the scheme of the proposed transaction. For example, it cannot be ruled out that Pinchevsky contributed to Darkin’s structures obtaining a loan against this collateral to buy out some other assets instead of the abandoned port. But this pledge can also serve as security for some other forms of Pinchevsky’s investments in Vladmorrybport.
In this case, what is important is not so much the scheme of the proposed change of owner, but rather who this owner will become. The main intrigue is whose interests lie behind Pinchevsky’s figure It was previously reported that he was close to Kozhemyako and it was suggested that in this conflict he could act in the interests of the governor. However, this is not the only version and not even the prevailing one.

At various times, he worked in leadership positions. a variety of organizations: government and commercial - senior positions in organizations of the Khabarovsk Territory, deputy head of OJSC Khabarovsk Oil Refinery, deputy head of CJSC Management Company Dynamo in Moscow, chairman of the Board of Directors of OJSC Kristall, deputy head of the Sakhalin region, deputy general director of OJSC Oboronstroy “, leadership position at OJSC “All-Russian Exhibition Center”. Pinchevsky’s further work, including his appointment as head of one of the development institutions of the Far East, is associated with close interaction with the plenipotentiary representative of the President of the Russian Federation in the Far Eastern Federal District, Yuri Trutnev.

Pinchevsky is often called the man of Igor Mikhnov (beneficiary of the Antey Group of Companies) - the son of the “crab king” Ivan Mikhnov. Arkady Pinchevsky, together with Igor Mikhnov, owns the Antey Group of Companies, one of the largest crab producers in Russia.

Pinchevsky also controls the Eurasian Fish Center. The company intends to build a large fishing port on the Nazimov Peninsula in Vladivostok. The base for the port became objects that were previously in federal ownership. Antey structures can invest in the implementation of the Far Eastern ERC project. The Eurasian Fish Center received the property following an auction held by the Russian Auction House. For 3.5 billion rubles, the businessman took possession of administrative and production buildings, three operating railway lines and a pier. In 2023, it won a crab auction for quotas worth 7.98 billion rubles with a loss of 521 million rubles (loss in 2022 - 3.7 million rubles). Some sources suggest that Mikhnov gave the money for the lot.

At Vladmorrybport, Pinchevsky can also act in the interests of Igor Mikhnov’s father, businessman Ivan Mikhnov, former owner of Iyanin Kutkh and Salmon CJSC. In the early 2000s, Mikhnov Sr. became notorious for his large-scale illegal fishing of Kamchatka crab. After the initiation of a criminal case, Ivan Mikhnov transferred assets in the Russian Federation under the control of his son, and he himself went abroad and settled in the United States. In 2009, he registered Sedna Industries Inc. in Seattle. It was registered to Ivan Mikhnov’s wife, Olga Suslova, and the director was Natalya Mikhnova. A company with the same name, but created in 2007, also exists in another state. IK Seafood, Inc is currently listed as inactive.

In addition, Mikhnov Jr. was registered with the company Fish Boutique (California) in the USA. Now this company is no longer active.
Finally, in 2013, Ivan Mikhnov registered the company IK Seafood, Inc in California, of which he is now president.

Thus, the joint projects of Pinchevsky and Mikhnov Jr. open up new prospects for the “crab king” Ivan Mikhnov, who has become a supplier of Russian crab to the American market.

At the same time, Mikhnov’s business in the United States, and also, according to some data, American citizenship, may serve as an explanation for why he himself is not declared as a possible buyer of Vladmorrybport, and acts through a trusted partner.