August 15 2022
Delo Group has become a contender for the purchase of the SASCO shipping company on Sakhalin, which is estimated at ₽10–20 billion by experts. If the deal goes through, the group will provide services not only on the railway and in the port, but also at sea
The Delo transport and logistics group of Sergey Shishkarev and Rosatom is interested in buying the Sakhalin Shipping Company (SASCO).
The geography of SASCO transportation covers the entire Russian Far East, China, South Korea, other regions of the northern part of the Asia-Pacific region, as well as the Northern Sea Route. According to the company’s financial statements as of June 30, 2022, 24.99% of its shares belonged to the Cypriot Sandyroad Trading, a similar stake was owned by the former son-in-law of the head of Transneft Andrey Bolotov, 0.01% of the shares were owned by SASCO chief financial director Arkady Kukin. Other shareholders are not disclosed.
SASCO was founded in 1945. As of March 2022, its fleet consisted of 16 ships: 11 transport vessels, three ferries (serving the Vanino-Kholmsk line) and two port tugs. The shipping company transports a wide range of dry cargo: containers, general, bulk and dry bulk cargo, timber and wood processing products. SASCO’s revenue in 2021 grew by 35%, to RUB 6.6 billion, while net profit increased 4.5 times, to RUB 762.6 million.
At the same time, the Delo group considered for acquisition other companies that organize container transportation in the Far East, worked out various forms of participation.
“Governor of the Sakhalin Region Valery Limarenko welcomes the arrival of any investor in our region. The Delo company has a good reputation and is actively developing,” press secretary of the governor, Svetlana Litvinova told RBC. If the group decides to expand its presence in the region, this will benefit the people of Sakhalin and will contribute to improving transport accessibility on the islands (in addition to Sakhalin, the Sakhalin region includes the nearby islands of Moneron and Tyuleniy, as well as the Kuril Islands), she added.
The Delo representative does not comment on “hypothetical, pending or discussed transactions and market rumors.” By the moment, the group and its subsidiaries do not own SASCO shares, he stressed.
At the end of 2021, the founder and main owner of Delo, Sergey Shishkarev (owns 51%), in an interview with RBC, listed the purchase of ships among the priority projects. This is necessary for competition with major global players, including the Danish Maersk, he said.
The group’s interest in SASCO is logical. Currently, Shishkarev has capital, Rosatom’s support and strong market demand for sea transportation, says a RBC source in a transport company. Moreover, earlier Shishkarev did not rule out the option of merging Delo with FESCO (the fleet includes 21 transport ships), which also has assets in the Far East – it owns the Vladivostok Commercial Sea Port (VMTP).
General Director of INFOLine-Analytics Mikhail Burmistrov estimates 100% of SASCO at up to 10 billion rubles, managing partner of Infra Projects Alexey Bezborodov – at 20 billion rubles.
After the purchase of SASCO, the Delo group will be able to form a full logistical shoulder, Bezborodov notes: Delo already owns the largest rail container operator TransContainer and a stake in Global Ports, an operator of port terminals, including those in the Far East. “It is important that the Sakhalin Shipping Company is an old asset with a name, experience in coastal shipping and export-import operations,” the expert notes.
Now transport and terminal assets in the Far East are rapidly growing in price in the context of the reorientation of export and import cargo flows, so the interest of the Delo group in consolidating assets is understandable, Burmistrov agrees. There is a very high probability that Delo will buy both SASCO and FESCO, as well as the share of its partner in Global Ports – A.P. Moller-Maersk (owns 30.75%), he says.