MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian logistics company Delo has decided to pledge its majority stake in the KSK grain terminal in Russia’s Black Sea port of Novorossiisk as collateral for its debt to Sberbank, a regulatory statement by Delo’s subsidiary showed.
It was not immediately clear whether pledging the 75% stake in KSK as collateral would mean that Delo was no longer considering selling part of the share. U.S. trade giant Cargill owns the rest of KSK.
Delo also pledged a container terminal in Novorossiisk as a guarantee for the debt to Sberbank, Russia’s largest lender.
KSK is one of Russia’s few Black Sea grain export terminals, which the world’s largest wheat exporter uses to supply the grain to Africa and the Middle East.
In October, Delo said it was in talks with potential buyers of a 25% stake in KSK as its negotiations with Chinese grain trader Cofco stalled.
Delo declined to comment. Delo has not disclosed its financial results or the total debt to Sberbank.
Delo’s decision brings Sberbank closer to the intense competition for Russia’s infrastructure assets in grain and cargo shipment.
Powerful state nuclear company Rosatom is buying a stake in Delo from its main owner Sergey Shishkarev to help it develop international cargo shipments, including via the Northern Sea Route, Rosatom said earlier this week.
Sberbank’s competitor, Russia’s second largest and state-controlled lender – VTB – has become the largest operator of Russia’s grain export terminals and other infrastructure after a list of deals this year.
With a capacity of 4.5 million tonnes of grain per year, KSK is the third largest deep-water grain export terminal in Russia’s part of the Black Sea. VTB controls the two largest.
Last week, Delo won an auction to buy 50%+2 shares in Russia’s largest freight container operator Transcontainer from the state railway operator for 60.3 billion roubles ($945 million). Sberbank has said that it opened a credit line to Delo for 30 billion roubles for the deal.
VTB owns 24.8% in Transcontainer, while two Russian businessmen, Roman Abramovich and Alexander Abramov, hold the remaining 24.7%.
In line with Russian law, Delo should make an offer to buy their stakes in Transcontainer at the price based on the one it agreed to pay in the auction last week, which means that would need another 60 billion roubles. Sberbank and VTB have not replied to Reuters’ requests for comment for that story.
Reporting by Gleb Stolyarov; writing by Polina Devitt; editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise