The son of Khusnullin with “Chistopolye” everything goes like clockwork
The agricultural business of Albert Khusnullin, the son of Deputy Prime Minister Marat Khusnullin, is growing at a record pace. In a couple of years, Khusnullin Jr. magically turned into one of the largest landowners in Tatarstan, and now he intends to enter a new market by opening an oil extraction plant.
The rapid rise of the Tatarstan agricultural holding Chistopolye, whose beneficiary is Albert Khusnullin, can be the envy of any businessman. The holding company, which was created only in December 2020, already has more than a dozen agricultural enterprises in its assets, and the volume of the land bank exceeds 100,000 hectares . Moreover, according to market participants, in the very near future the area of the latifundia may grow to 150,000 hectares.
What is interesting: the data on the financial performance of the agricultural holding at the same time look more than modest. The authorized capital of the company is 100 thousand rubles, and the revenue for 2021 is a little more than 73 million rubles. With what funds did Khusnullin Jr. manage to create such a large agro-industrial company, and why does such a rich economy not bring proper returns?
Grew up in an open field
“Chistopolye has amazing, powerful fields. They use the most modern technologies and equipment. They understand very well: until you invest a ruble, you won’t get three, ”Takhir Khadeev, deputy of the State Council of Tatarstan, commented on the work of the new agricultural holding last fall.
Khusnullin Jr. bought part of the land from Ak Bars Holding, controlled by well-known businessman Ivan Yegorov, who is considered a member of the inner circle of the head of Tatarstan Rustam Minnikhanov. Ak Bars Holding is one of the largest players not only in the agricultural market, but also in the economy of the republic as a whole. In particular, the structure of the company includes a shipbuilding plant, Kamgesenergostroy and other large enterprises. And suddenly this powerful holding decided to “share” its assets with the son of the Deputy Prime Minister. It is noteworthy that this decision was preceded by one story. In 2019, the head of the Ak Bars shipbuilding corporation, Renat Mistakhov, became a defendant in a criminal case on a bribe of 65 million rubles, which he allegedly paid to an employee of the Department of Audit of State Contracts of the Ministry of Defense for receiving contracts from the department. However, in the end, the matter ended with the landing of the head of one of the departments of the audit department, Yuri Efremov, who received five years in prison.
At the same time, Ak Bars had problems with agriculture. The leadership of the Ministry of Agriculture of the republic accused the agricultural holding of inefficient use of land and low yields. Some officials even began to openly speak out that, they say, it’s time to “dispossess” Ak Bars. “The Ak Bars holding company has a lot of land, such a large area should not be given to one hand,” said Pyotr Chekmarev, who previously held the position of head of the Tetyushsky district of the republic, and later worked as head of a department of the Ministry of Agriculture of the Russian Federation.
In addition to Ak Bars, Kulon also “shared” land with Khusnullin Jr. (in 2019 it was reorganized into the agricultural company Zakroma). Albert Fakhrutdinov, a deputy of the State Council of Tatarstan, was the beneficiary of the Kulon company. In 2019, the company fell on hard times in connection with the 400 millionth debt to the bank. As a result, “Kulon” was liquidated on its own initiative, and on its basis a new company was created – “Zakroma”, associated with the same Mr. Fakhrutdinov.
Thus, Khusnullin Jr. actually acted as a collector of assets, the owners of which found themselves in a difficult situation, but in the end got away with it. Given the influence of Deputy Prime Minister Marat Khusnullin on politics in the Republic of Tatarstan, such facts can hardly be written down as random coincidences.
With oil for export
The possible emergence of an oil extraction plant for a newly-minted agrarian also raises many questions. Let’s start with the fact that there was no official announcement of the expansion of the business. Kommersant recently drew attention to the appearance of a vacancy for the head of the oilseeds processing service at an agricultural holding. And an anonymous source in the company confirmed that the issue of entering a new market is currently being considered.
The supply of vegetable oils to foreign markets today is indeed a profitable business. The reason for this is the corresponding policy of the government in the field of export duties. However, even today Russian companies produce much more butter than the domestic market can consume. Moreover, the country’s export opportunities, especially in the face of sanctions pressure, are also not unlimited. “Of course, the creation of a new project in the industry, on the one hand, will make sense in the perspective of three to five years, it is still quite possible to jump into the last carriage. However, already after this time, it will be necessary to have a work plan “B” for the operation of the enterprise in the new reality,” says Albina Koryagina, partner of the NEO Center company, noting that already now the oilseed processing market has all signs of overheating.
For Khusnullin Jr., the situation is further complicated by the fact that he will have to compete in this segment with such giants as the Kazan Oil Extraction Plant, which is part of the Nefis Group of Companies and is controlled by State Duma deputy Irek Boguslavsky. And also with the plant of the Rusagro group (the beneficiary is the ex-senator of the Belgorod region Vadim Moshkovich), located in the Samara region neighboring Tatarstan.
So the project with an oil extraction plant for the young agricultural holding Chistopolye looks at least ambiguous. Unless it is a desire to quickly recoup the invested money, while the export component in this segment still brings its profits. And there – come what may.
Of course, there is no open information about at whose expense the newly-minted agrarian Albert Khusnullin managed to unwind so quickly and even step on the tail of the giants of the industry. However, some obvious conclusions suggest themselves. Too clearly in the agrarian empire of Khusnullin Jr. “construction ears” stick out. Until recently, the general director of the Chistopolye agricultural holding was Gumer Zakirov.
Interestingly, a certain Ruslan Zakirov is a co-owner of DTK Bar-Restaurant LLC in Kazan, which, in turn, is associated with Amir Gatin, who controls several large residential real estate management companies in the capital of Tatarstan. Of course, we are probably talking only about businessmen with the same name. But Albert Khusnullin himself, it turns out, is directly connected with the construction business. So, in addition to the Chistopolye agricultural holding, the son of the Deputy Prime Minister is also the founder of two more organizations – Clarus LLC and TSI-Realt LLC. In turn, Clarus is managed by ZhAK LLC (Housing Administrative Company), whose general director is a certain Ruslan Khusnullin, and the founder of TEMP. According to rumors, Ruslan Khusnullin may be a close relative of the maternal cousin of Deputy Prime Minister Marat Khusnullin Ildus Minnikhanov. PA “TEMP” is also notable for the fact that the chairman of its board is Natalia Volostnova, who is related to the now defunct JSC “Economic Consulting Group”. Until 2015, according to the Business Online publication, this joint-stock company was the founder of the Kamsky Bereg hunting estate of the Khusnullin family.