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The Great Migration of Companies to the East: Meaning and Prospects
Rostislav TurovskyDoctor of Political Sciences, Professor of HSE, Scientific Editor East Russia
Speaking about the relocation of companies to the Far East, as to any other region, one should, first of all, understand what exactly can be relocated, with what goals and consequences. First, the head office can relocate, i.e. management structure of the company. This will mean that the company's management and its main management personnel are constantly working and living not in Moscow, as is customary, but in the Far East. This requires strong incentives, since for top management this will mean the actual abandonment of the usual way of life, and for the company also the need to recruit ordinary employees in the region and city where the base office is located, and where their level of training may be low at first. ... Under the conditions of a centralized Russian system, the communication separation of the company's management from Moscow will occur, which may negatively affect the effectiveness of its lobbying activities, collecting information about the processes taking place in the capital, and interacting with the central authorities. For these obvious reasons, Russian companies gravitate towards Moscow, and if they are inextricably linked to a particular region, they create strong Moscow representations, which are responsible for important political functions. It is unlikely that any large Russian company, accustomed to working in the capital, will agree to such a risky maneuver for its interests and position. In Russia, there are practically no examples of large national companies whose management prefers to be located in other regions. One of the rare examples is Surgutneftegaz, which continues to be based in its "native" Surgut.
The most striking example of the attempt of the federal authorities to strengthen the region's budget by transferring large taxpayers there became the manifestation of concern for St. Petersburg. The biggest step was the registration in this city of Gazprom Neft. It should be noted that this decision was a strong blow to the budget of another region, since in the times of R.Abramovich, Sibneft, later transformed into Gazprom Neft, was registered in the Omsk Region. But, one way or another, Gazprom Neft has become one of the leading taxpayers of the city on the Neva. Considering the fact that its capital status was in fact, it would have been possible to expect the relocation of administrative structures there, but with this problems arose. They are known to have resulted in long and scandalous attempts by Gazprom to build its office skyscraper in St. Petersburg, first in the form of Okhta Center, which provoked opposition from the public, now in the form of Lakhta Center, whose project is gradually being implemented . But years have passed, and the company's management does not show a keen interest in moving to St. Petersburg, still preferring Moscow.
In the process of trying to support St. Petersburg by moving offices around the country's map, another important decision was the registration of one of the largest state banks, Vneshtorgbank, there. Although, for example, retail "daughter" of Vneshtorgbank - VTB24 received a Moscow residence permit. Petersburg's registration was also acquired by Sovcomflot, Russia's largest state shipping company (which also has a Moscow office). In general, such a policy, conducted at the time when V.Matvienko worked as the governor of St. Petersburg, had good results for the city budget, but, of course, no mass character re-registration of large business in the northern capital did not acquire. In addition, we again emphasize that the speech was still about the capital region, located next to European countries, open to the outside world and having close communication links with Moscow.
Considering the experience of St. Petersburg and the specifics of the Far East, let us now see what can happen with the relocation and re-registration of certain companies in the eastern regions of the country. The political leadership speaks primarily of state-owned companies, which it is easier to manage, but we will pay attention to large private businesses.
At the same time, there is not a single example of any company reallocating its resources in such a way that the Far East becomes for it the main producing region, which would be logically interconnected with the work of the management apparatus and tax registration there. Usually, this is a region of new development, where more raw materials can be mined, processing can be increased, but today it cannot even be said that in the long term for any company it will become successful and main. New projects, both on the continent and on the adjacent shelf, are, in fact, only scheduled, and their implementation depends heavily on Russian and foreign investment, the availability of markets, etc. At this stage, the dependence of the Far Eastern projects on the federal budget is critical, both from direct financing and from the benefits and guarantees that the state will provide to investors. Given the difficult budget situation in the country and the unclear prospects for its development, it would be naive to believe that the Far East will receive everything that was promised to it, and will soon begin to flourish. Speaking about the lessons already learned, it is worth remembering that, for example, the megaproject of the integrated development of South Yakutia, conceived several years ago, actually did not take place. Even the raw oil and gas projects that are familiar to Russia can be at risk, as evidenced by the actual abandonment of the Shtokman gas project on the Barents Sea shelf, which has been very active for several years and was considered one of the most promising for the country and Gazprom.
It should also take into account the importance for the country of East Siberia and its prospects. In this part of Russia are concentrated not smaller, and often large reserves of undeveloped minerals. It is not by chance that the development of the Far East is somehow correlated and combined in state and corporate programs with the development of Eastern Siberia. And often the Far East is a transit region for the export of products, and production is concentrated in Siberia (as in the case of oil, coal, etc.). Therefore, in terms of the location of new productions of various large companies, as well as the objective prerequisites for their registration, Eastern Siberia is not inferior to the Far East.
In the oil and gas sector, the two leading Russian state-owned companies - Rosneft and Gazprom - undoubtedly number the Far East among their most promising regions. One of the prospects is related to the development of the shelf as the main hope of the Russian fuel and energy complex for the long term. As you know, state-owned companies that have an actual monopoly on the development of the shelf in Russia, for a few years, staked out the bulk of more or less promising areas, and Rosneft's lobbying turned out to be more successful in this process. For the Far East, this means that, under favorable conditions, new Sakhalin projects will be included in production activities, then the shelf in the area of the Magadan Region, Kamchatka and, finally, Chukotka. It is planned to launch new gas fields in Yakutia, as well as in Irkutsk region for the export of pipeline gas. The number of projects for the production of liquefied natural gas is expanding, with Rosneft trying to compete with Gazprom. The future of the oil industry on the continent is Yakutia, where Surgutneftegaz is already operating and Rosneft is also being consolidated.
"Rosneft" is often called among companies that can change their registration to the Far East. The company has one unconditional interest - the maintenance and expansion of oil exports in Chinese and in general in the east. But for this purpose, oil from Eastern Siberia is used, namely, the Krasnoyarsk Territory, and not the Far East itself, through which the pipe runs. Actually, Far Eastern production for Rosneft is undoubtedly important, but traditionally it is concentrated in the compact Sakhalin cluster, where LLC RN-Sakhalinmorneftegaz and the Sakhalin-1 joint venture operate, as well as at the Komsomolsk refinery in the Khabarovsk Territory. New projects for oil refining in Primorsky Krai and gas on Sakhalin do not yet have one hundred percent chance of implementation, as well as new production on the shelf. At the same time, Rosneft’s main production base remains in Siberia, the Volga region and the Caucasus, and processing and marketing of petroleum products are also developed there. The actual takeover of TNK-BP means the merger of assets in the same Western Siberia and Central Russia. Thus, the Far East for Rosneft is primarily a transit region for oil exports, as well as one of the many production centers with which the prospects are really connected, but one cannot say that they are the only ones for the company.
For Gazprom, the Far East is a completely new region where the company is gradually strengthening its position (in the recent past, we recall, the Siberian city of Tomsk was considered the main center of Gazprom’s eastern projects). This region is promising for the production of liquefied natural gas, which is already underway on Sakhalin, the extraction and / or transit of pipeline gas, and also for the gasification of the regions. As in the case of Rosneft, Gazprom has a number of new projects, such as LNG production in the Primorye Territory, gas production at the Chayandinskoye field in Yakutia, the launch of the Sakhalin-3 project and the Kirinskoye field, and others. The company has an Eastern Gas Program. At the same time, apart from the Sakhalin-2 joint venture (and, accordingly, the Sakhalin Energy company) in the Far East, Gazprom does not have any powerful local subsidiaries that could be considered as outposts of the company and major taxpayers. The Daltransgaz transport company is registered in the Khabarovsk Territory, which owns a pipe section. Important, but local importance is Kamchatgazprom. There are a number of gas supplying organizations, but in them Gazprom does not formally own a controlling stake. In connection with the problems in the Shtokman field, Sakhalin and the Kirinskoye field are acquiring critical importance for Gazprom Dobycha Shelf LLC, in respect of which a decision can be made to register on Sakhalin (now it is assigned to Moscow). In addition, Gazprom’s LNG Vladivostok is Gazprom’s local subsidiary in Primorsky Krai, but production itself does not yet exist.
If we talk about private companies of the Russian fuel and energy sector, along with Rosneft, a big role in the Far East is played by Surgutneftegaz, which is closely involved in Yakutia. But for him, the Far East is the second most important platform without the prospect of becoming the first, it is important to compensate for the decline in production in Western Siberia, but it is unable to replace Surgut, which was and remains the "capital" of the company. It is interesting that the Far East is really critical for a completely different player in the country's oil industry - the Alliance group, which owns the Khabarovsk refinery and is one of the main companies supplying the Far East with fuel and lubricants. However, the company's office is located in Moscow, and here there is a gap between the main activity area and the management center (in addition, the Alliance group controls other assets in the region, for example, Khabarovsk airport). But there is no question of re-registering the oil company Alliance in the Far East.
At the same time, for one of the leading coal companies of the country - SUEK - its production in the Primorsky and Khabarovsk Territories is not the main one (there are a number of its extracting and transport assets that are not connected to any one large macroregional "daughter"). The main importance for SUEK is Siberia with the deposits of the Krasnoyarsk Territory and the Kemerovo Region. Far Eastern geography of its activities is Sakhalinugol, once separated in the interests of O. Misevra from other assets of the MDM group, on the basis of which SUEK was created (currently based on the Sakhalin and Magadan assets of O. Misevra and the group of ICTs of St. Petersburg origin , But with the Moscow head office - the Eastern Mining Company, headed by the same O. Miseyrov, was established). But the prospects for the growth of coal production in the Far East, in addition to the above-mentioned Elga, are related more to the relatively new company Kolmar, which is controlled by the well-known oligarch G.Timchenko and intends to expand coal production in Yakutia, where all of its production base is concentrated. However, the office of this company is also located in Moscow.
A very specific situation has developed in such a profile direction of the Far Eastern economy as the extraction of gold and silver. The Far East is the base region for the Petropavlovsk Group, which is producing gold in the Amur Region and is implementing a new iron ore project in the Jewish Autonomous Region. But this group is based in London, and in Russia it has again a Moscow office. Also, the Far East is of strategic importance for the Polymetal Group, which is registered on the island of Jersey, has a London office, and in Russia, interestingly, is based in St. Petersburg. "Polymetal", actually under the control of the group of IST A.Nesis, is the leading silver producer in Russia, and its production is concentrated just in the Far East - in the Magadan Region. The company also produces large-scale gold mining. Outside the Far East in Russia, it almost does not work, and the Vorontsovskoye field in the Sverdlovsk region is not key for it.
Speaking about gold mining, it is worth noting that at one time, one of the major Russian producers was the Amur artel, located in the Khabarovsk Territory. But in the future she became a member of the Russian Platinum group and is a subsidiary of platinum mining in the same region (Russian Platinum is actually a member of the Alliance group and is based in Moscow with assets in the Khabarovsk and Krasnoyarsk regions). Perhaps, the only large and really local player was the company "Susumananzoloto", based in the Magadan region. The smaller gold producer is Kamchatka's Gold, but despite the "regional" name, it is registered in Moscow and belongs to the Renova group.
It should be noted that the Rosgeologia State Geological Exploration Holding, created relatively recently, is also represented in the Far East. However, its enterprises are scattered throughout the country, although, of course, geological exploration in the Far East is one of the regional priorities. So far the company, like most other state-owned corporations, maintains a Moscow residence permit.
Returning to state corporations and their presence in the Far East, special attention should be given to those of them who deal with infrastructure both from the point of view of internal provision of the region and its integration, and in terms of exports. In the Far East, both the leading state-owned companies engaged in power generation - RusHydro and Inter RAO UES - have interests.
For RusHydro, the region is of the greatest importance, since the company includes OAO RAO ES Vostoka, which is the main operator of the Far Eastern energy system. Actually, RusHydro owns a number of hydropower plants throughout the country, but the largest of them, Sayano-Shushenskaya, is located in Eastern Siberia. Taking into account the new Boguchanskaya HPP in Eastern Siberia, about 30% of the installed capacity of the HPP RusHydro is concentrated. The Far East (primarily at the hydropower stations in the Amur and Magadan regions) accounts for about 16%. However, one should not forget about the significance of the Volga cascade of HPPs for RusHydro.
At the same time, taking into account RAO "ES of the East", it turns out that this company controls more than 24% of the installed capacity of the power plant in the holding as a whole (ie, RusHydro and RAO ES of the East combined), and taking into account power plants " RusHydro's share of the Far East is more than 36%, exceeding the share of Eastern Siberia. An important feature of RusHydro is that the company is registered in Krasnoyarsk, although the head office is located in Moscow. RAO "ES of the East", in its turn, is a completely Far Eastern company and holding, which includes a number of companies of regional significance, including. The Far Eastern Energy Company (Vladivostok office), the Far Eastern Distribution Company (Blagoveshchensk office), generating companies in Yakutia, Kamchatka, Magadan and Sakhalin regions. The company has offices in Moscow, Khabarovsk and Vladivostok, but its legal address is in Khabarovsk. The Far Eastern Energy Company, in turn, controls the Far Eastern generating company, which combined the assets of the Primorsky and Khabarovsk Territories, the Amur Region and the south of Yakutia. This company is also based in Khabarovsk.
The company "Inter RAO" only deploys its activities in the Far East (it is registered in Moscow). It is represented in the Amur Region by the Eastern Energy Company, which exports electricity. But important projects are planned here, such as the Khabarovsk combined-cycle power plant (built by the Eastern Energy Company), coal-fired power plants on the basis of the Erkowiec and Urgals fields. And the project of the Yerkovtsi TPP is seen as the largest new project of a thermal power plant in Russia, which is planned to be implemented together with China. Thus, the interest of Inter RAO in the Far East is to create local capacities for the export of electricity to China, but the company has many interests in other regions of the country.
Speaking about the real sector, the Far East is of particular importance for two large state-owned companies - the United Shipbuilding Corporation (USC) and the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC). USC with its regional asset allocation structure includes the Far Eastern Shipbuilding and Shiprepairing Center (based in Vladivostok). Its main production facilities are located in the Baltic and in the Arkhangelsk region (the company is registered in St. Petersburg), and the Far East is seen as promising for the construction of ships for new export projects. At the same time, the new project for the shipyard Zvezda, intended for this purpose, is being implemented within the framework of a separate consortium under the actual control of Rosneft, and OSK is a minority shareholder in this project. In this connection, the task arises to load the capacities of the USC itself in the Far East, which is not so simple given that there are few orders for vessels in Russia, and they have to be divided among a number of stronger enterprises, primarily in St. Petersburg and Severodvinsk, with Which it is almost impossible to compete with.
On the contrary, the aircraft plant in Komsomolsk-on-Amur was and remains one of the leaders of the Russian aircraft industry, playing key roles in the production of both military and civilian (Sukhoi Superjet 100 project) aircraft. Now it is a branch of the Moscow-based Sukhoi company, which, in turn, belongs to UAC (the second Sukhoi plant is located in Novosibirsk). It is worth recalling about the helicopter plant in Arsenyev (Progress company), which is part of the Russian Helicopters holding company (controlled by Rostec), along with several other Russian plants.
In other sectors of the Far Eastern economy, on the contrary, one can find a large number of players of local origin, including in the fishing, forestry, construction materials production, etc. At the same time, breakthrough development projects for the Far East, as a rule, are not connected with them. A special position, of course, is occupied by the fishing industry, another major specialization of the Far East in Russia, which, in turn, makes the Far Eastern business one of the largest in the country (with players such as the Preobrazhenskaya base of the trawling fleet, the Nakhodka base of active marine fishing and others). This is perhaps a rare example of the situation when it is the Far East that manages its assets (by the way, information was also discussed that the Hong Kong company Pacific Andes is actually in control of a significant part of these assets). Now here comes the expansion, for example, from such an influential Moscow company as Russian Sea - Production (controlled by G. Timchenko and M. Vorobyov), which buys local fishing companies. Yes, and manipulations with the distribution of quotas for the catch of a particular fish product can change the situation in the industry in a most radical way.
In fact, the main territorial gap exists among those private companies that carry out almost all production activities in the Far East, but are based in Moscow or abroad. This is how the production of gold and silver is organized, for which the Far East is indeed the most important macro-region of the country. The same characteristics characterize the group "Alliance", "Colmar".
The transfer of the administrative apparatus to the Far East looks like a completely far-fetched measure. It is noteworthy that the Ministry of Development and Development creates for itself two main offices - in Moscow and Vladivostok. Artificial separation of the management structures of state-owned companies from the capital will only lead to organizational difficulties and a reduction in their weight. It is well known that even companies with local registration have large Moscow offices, and often the registration itself is of a purely formal nature and is a political decision only taken earlier.
More important is the question of tax registration, which is also an artificial measure, but it can promote redistribution of taxes from the capital cities to the regions of the Far East. However, in this case, there will be a question about the "right" place of registration of companies. For example, a new fight will break out between Khabarovsk and Vladivostok. The question arises of the expediency of large taxpayers coming to Sakhalin, whose budget is already growing due to new projects. Therefore, the authorities, taking such a decision and "pushing" the company to the East, will have to be calculated so that it helps to equalize regional tax potentials.