Russia’s UCL Holding may list transport assets

A reflection of a yearly chart of U.S. dollars and Russian roubles are seen on rouble notes in this photo illustration taken in Warsaw November 7, 2014. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel

UCL Holding, which manages the transport assets of steel tycoon Vladimir Lisin, is considering stock market listings of its rail, shipping and stevedoring firms, Dmitry Lisin, Lisin’s son, told Reuters.

Initial public offerings (IPOs) are an option for Freight One, Russia’s largest private railway operator, for UCL Port, which includes port assets in the Baltic, Black and Azov Seas, and for Volgo-Balt Transport Holding (VBTH), which manages shipping and shipyard assets, Lisin said.

“If the investment activity on the transportation market improves, then the most practical and the best thing to do is an IPO … We are talking to various Russian and Western companies and are on the lookout (for investors),” Lisin said in his first media interview.

The group would like to attract one or two strategic investors for the assets prior to their IPOs, Lisin, who is on the board of Freight One, said.

“We will continue to develop our transport assets. Transit options via Russian ports should be improved,” he said, declining to disclose the names of potential investors or a timeline or location for the IPOs.

Dmitry, 36, is the eldest son of Lisin, Russia’s third richest man whose wealth has been estimated by Forbes magazine at $16.1 billion. This partly comes from his controlling stake in Russia’sbiggest steelmaker NLMK.

Lisin senior is one of the most prominent entrepreneurs in Russia and has been involved a range of businesses since the 1990s following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

His son Dmitry, like many other children of Russian tycoons, has become part of a second generation of post-Soviet businessmen.

Dmitry said he had originally been preparing to study neurosurgery in Britain but he switched to finance and philosophy instead when his father began to give him some management responsibilities in the early 2000s. He later returned to Russia.

Asked whether he was preparing to take the reins of all of his father’s business one day, he said that running a business was never “an easy task” and cited how much red tape there was to deal with in Russia.

“In the United States business is overregulated too and in recent times there is a lot of anti-Russian feeling there,” he said. “It’s very hard to get a green light for deals – 90 percent of the time goes on dealing with bureaucracy.”

NLMK is one of the five largest steelmakers in the United States.

In December, his father sold a 1.5 percent stake in NLMK, in a deal which banking sources said was aimed at raising capital for a possible purchase of container company Transcontainer by Freight One.

Asked about the possible purchase of Transcontainer, Dmitry Lisin said that “they have not determined the price yet.” He did not give any further details.

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