“The main thing is not to impose export bans on farmers”

Rusagro CEO Maxim Basov tells how the holding company has survived price regulation and makes optimistic forecasts.

General Director Director of “Rusagra” Maxim Basov / Maxim Chairs / Gazette

The outgoing CEO of Rusagro tells how the holding company has survived price regulation, and makes optimistic forecasts.

Maxim Basov, who has worked for 12 years as CEO of Rusagro, will resign in 2022. His place will be taken by Timur Lipatov, who headed the “Power Machines” until April this year. Bass will remain a shareholder in the company, but will focus on his own projects and expects to “grow several billion companies.” The outgoing year was difficult for Rusagra due to state regulation of prices – it affected all four divisions of the group. The main owner of the company Vadim Mashkovich at a meeting with the president in March even warned of possible losses and disruptions in export supplies due to certain measures. But Bass says that despite these difficulties, he is leaving the company in good financial shape.

– Do you think that the SPO “Rusagra” held in August was successful?

– It is successful for buyers: they have already earned over 15%. “Rusagro” did not receive funds from the SPO, because the GDR was sold not by the company, but by its majority shareholder (13.4% of shares for $ 275 million sold Vadim Mashkovich. – “Gazette”).

– Of the major investors, you revealed only Maxim Vorobiev, who received 10%. Can you name other buyers?

– The largest after Vadim Mashkovich, Maxim Vorobiev and me – foreign companies. Mostly British investors, and quite a few funds. This is good news for us, as Russian investors have been buying our shares at retail for the last four years.

– When Vorobiev became a major shareholder, he named several reasons why he invested more in the company: growth through the digitalization of business and the transformation from agricultural to FMCG. Are these really your main areas of work for the next few years?

– I would like to remind you that the domestic consumption of our products is not growing, so we see three main directions for development.

First, organic growth through the launch of new projects, such as the new, largest project in recent years in the meat business in the Far East (pig cluster with full-cycle production. – “Gazette”), as well as by increasing the load of current capacity and operational efficiency. In addition, the company can count on inorganic growth through mergers and acquisitions.


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Second, increase sales of consumer products. In the domestic market – mainly due to innovative products: for example, the replacement of animal protein and fat with vegetable counterparts. In terms of exports, due to the growing demand for oil and fat products, we are especially counting on the countries of Central Asia. We also see the potential in the export of feed to Asian countries.

Third is digital technology and innovation. For the past five years, we have regularly discussed on the board of directors the need to increase efforts in this direction, but we have taken it seriously relatively recently.

“We have added risks”

– Since the end of last year, the state began to regulate the prices of food producers to curb their strong growth. Rusagra is probably the only company in which all four divisions have come under different measures. Tell me, is this the first time the authorities have taken you so seriously?

– How did it affect the company?

– Due to the new measures we have added risks, and they have limited our profits. But despite this, we are showing good results. For nine months of 2021 the revenue has made 1576 billion rubles, Net profit – 354 billion rubles. Both figures are record highs in the company’s history.

– At the expense of what?

– There are objective factors that stabilize the situation. If we talk about crop production, Russia has long had the cost of production of traditional crops – wheat, barley and sunflower – one of the lowest in the world. For example, the total cost of growing wheat in Russia – about $ 600 / ha, in the US – about $ 900, in Germany – $ 1800.

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