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Sergei Darkin: "I myself will take a few Far Eastern hectares"

Head of TIGER - in an interview with EastRussia

One of the experts and the only representative of business in the key session of the second Eastern Economic Forum devoted to the development of the fishing industry was the Governor of Primorye 2001-2012, the President of the Pacific Investment Group (TIGR) Sergey Darkin. In his speech, the head of TIGR noted not only the main achievements in the industry over the past year, but also negative aspects that hinder the investment development of the industry. On how difficult the business is today, what projects his investment group is betting on, and also about the desire to use the Far Eastern hectare, said Sergey Darkin

Sergei Darkin: "I myself will take a few Far Eastern hectares"
- Sergey Mikhailovich, how do you assess the work of the session on aquatic biological resources held at VEF-2016?
- The session went well. We exchanged views, they are not new. There are certain things that need to be talked about and need to be constantly discussed - the construction of a new fleet, for example. There is an opinion of the Government, and there is an opinion of fishermen, but there is an opinion of experts, and they are always different. It happens that experts are not always right. We give our opinion.

- What other issues were discussed at the session apart from shipbuilding?
- We talked about fish plots. For a fisherman or an investor, it does not matter if anyone has the authority to allocate a plot - from a federal or regional authority. Or they even joint. The main thing for the fisherman is to get this plot! At last year's Forum, this issue was also discussed, and I was then told that there would be shifts. But a year has passed and not a single site has been distributed for one reason or another. I do not say that Rosrybolovstvo is to blame. They are not at all to blame, they really pedal the situation, but the local authorities did not modify it. See for yourself what a plot for aquaculture is - just a plot, a territory of water, in which you need to invest money, build infrastructure, fish factories, transfer electricity, build canteens and plant fry there. And then wait seven years to harvest the first crop. These sites are not manna from heaven. And it turns out that money is not needed to increase catch volumes and get additional products. It is necessary to issue plots.

- And what about using budget funds?
"I believe they should be used effectively." For one ruble, one millimeter of the road can be built, or two. I, for example, would not build refrigerators for state accounts. But the ports-shelters - built. The Japanese, when they owned half of Sakhalin, built 43 such ports. These are such "buckets," they do not work, they are overgrown, but they could have a fleet catching fish and unload it on the shore, next to them there were mini-factories that either salted fish (the tanks they had there) or (There were refrigerators in them), and entire villages were inhabited, now there are no such harbors, there is a big ship, it is loading and leaving, the shore is not developing, I am right or wrong, but it is a fact of life. There are also we talk about it.

- How do you rate the work of Rosrybolovstvo?
- The leadership of Rosrybolovstva today is the best guide that has been in the past 16 years. They are correct, not strangers, they understand the industry, the right things are done, they are open enough. Yes, there are controversial points, they need to be discussed. Dialogue with the authorities is good, but it would be even better, so we have such disputes.

- With the allocation of areas of the problem only in Primorye?
- Yes, on Sakhalin, for example, three sites were put up for the construction of fish breeding plants. We won one.

- And in Kamchatka?
- In Kamchatka - no, only under the Commander Islands, but we were not able to take part there either. Khabarovsk was cited as an example, but there are heavy conditions for the competition - more points if you have a nearby factory. And if it is not, then you can not come, take a river and build a fish there. On the one hand, this is the protection of local players. On the other hand, the industry does not develop. We checked - the competition was drawn up in accordance with the order of the Federal Agency for Fisheries, not to find fault. God grant that they built something there. They, of course, need to protect their producers and this is correct. But in the end there is no possibility for the arrival of other investors who would build new plants there. There is not so good everything is developing. Apparently, there are some problems, since this does not work.

- Would you be interested in the sites in all four regions?
- Of course, we are now investing a lot of money in fisheries - in plans for up to 3 billions of dollars.

- Are there any achievements of your investment group in the field of fish farming?
- Achievements already exist - we first sold the processed product to China, the batch of trepanga, no one before us has ever sold it. The party is small. This year we think to collect only 10 tons of trepanga. Who knows this market - he will understand, it's iconic things. It took us five years. Why I'm screaming about the fishing grounds - it's necessary to give out, we have to replicate this business, and we can not replicate, because there are no plots. Then you still wait 5-7 years. Everything is as usual in our country.

- So, fish for TIGR - the main direction? Can you estimate how much this industry has in your investment portfolio?
- The main direction, but today one volume, and tomorrow there will be another. You need to evaluate the readiness of projects. Today we are actively engaged in the construction of two ports - a port for transshipment of oil products in Nakhodka, the second, a dry one, on the border with China. Work has begun, design is underway. The money, in comparison with fish, will not be less. At some point it will be, maybe comparable, and maybe more. Because, in general, we look closely at logistics projects. Another area of ​​interest is everything related to natural resources. Not only such as gold and coal, although our portfolio includes a deposit in the Khabarovsk Territory. There are water projects. We have bought land for growing ginseng in the Primorsky Territory, we want to revive the former state farm, the only one in the USSR for the production of ginseng, on the basis of this farm to make a long-term project, its payback period is 7-10 years.

- And how much will it cost approximately?
- Now you do not count. There are different approaches. There is a costly, Soviet, and there is a business approach. Now we are testing the ginseng that grows there, not wild, but cultivated - we check the chemical properties in our laboratories to understand what product we can get and what we can do with it.

- So, fish, logistics, natural resources. What else?
- Housing construction is a very interesting segment for us. Now we in Primorye are going to invest money in the construction of cheap profitable housing.

- Under the state programs?
- No. As a rule, we do not work with the state. We work with private money, on the market, without state participation. I believe that it is not entirely effective to interact with the state in such segments as housing. Even when building the cheapest housing. There is a reserve that we are going to use. This is a new technology, large volumes, a new infrastructure that we are also going to build. The project is designed for 500 thousand square meters. Meters, this is a large enough volume for the Primorsky Territory, where for the time being it is built up to 300 thousand sq. M. Per year. Meters of housing. We want to reach the level of about 100 thousand square meters. Meters per year.

- Low-rise construction?
- Different houses: both low-rise buildings, and 10-floors. So far only in Primorye.

- Has the land been resolved?
- Yes. Just the other day, in cooperation with the Federal Agency for Housing Development, we purchased land plots. Now we need to do all the infrastructure and do it all.

- Why do you try not to work with the state, if you interact with the RHD Foundation?
- I meant that it is impossible to make final products for consumers. The state always has many interests subjective, it can change priorities. Here the typhoon happened, and it will send money, which was supposed to buy apartments for young families, to eliminate the consequences. It happens. Therefore, we try to sell our product in the markets.

- You recently published a book in co-authorship, and in English. In it, you analyze the competitive advantages of the Far East. An example from the book will lead?
- Cross-border trade. In general, everything related to the border. For example, the bunkering of the fleet in the Kuril Islands. In fact, we are making a second Singapore from the Kuriles. How Singapore developed - ships came there for bunkering and for water. And all the traffic went. And the arc of the "Great Circle" goes past the Kuriles, all cargoes from Asia to North America go past the Kuriles. Why not bunker this whole fleet there? We are building a huge center for the sale of our fuel oil, which we do not really need. We develop our territory, we attract all these flows to us. There is a problem related to customs legislation. But in order to get an additional product and profit, you don't need to invest any money. We do bunkering there - and it immediately starts bringing in money. And this means new jobs, development of its territory, linking powerful shipping lines to itself. This is a serious geopolitical thing.

- What is your attitude to the new development mechanisms that are launched in the Far East?
- This is a huge plus, it cannot be denied - Free port in Vladivostok, TORs, Far Eastern hectares, etc. We also plan to use these modes. With our new bunkering base, which we are building in Nakhodka, we enter the Free Port of Vladivostok. We invest a lot of money, and we would like to receive certain preferences, if possible. Projects are complex, not one-day.

"You've been a governor for a long time, then you worked in the Government, now you're back in business." How has your perception of the relationship between government and business changed?
"It's really easier for me to work because I came to power from business and came back after it into business. Today I look at many things from different angles. Now, I believe, it is necessary to capitalize the territory in all possible ways, from the distribution of fish quotas and ending with regulatory acts on the introduction of bonded warehouses, the use of global financial instruments. Maybe, indeed, Russia and the Far East will be a quiet harbor, and here they will keep values ​​- not only gold, but also currency. We must look more broadly at how the Far East can be capitalized. A lot of investments will come in the TORs, and they have to match. Now this, unfortunately, no. Even use the mode 7-hour difference in the work of financial markets - why not? To make money work both there and there. There are also such prospects for the capitalization of the territory. Do not be afraid of anything. Storage of valuables, privileges for wines. What now goes to offshore zones, to draw here, in the quiet harbor of the Far East, to attract investment capital here.

- And the Far East hectare to you personally is interesting?
- Yes, but not yet. I have a hunting farm.

- One hectare, you will not be enough ...
- I want a few. And in different places. I have my own fishing, where I have been fishing all my life, there is nothing. I want to get hectares in the taiga to build good bases there.

- When you agitate people on hectares, people will not think that you are returning to politics?
- No. Where am I and where is the policy? This is not my bread. Not my business.
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