Thursday 22 February 2018

Sued Russian oligarch owns a major Irish asset portfolio

Nick Webb

Nick Webb

Deripaska owns Ireland's biggest factory

Billionaire Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, who is at the centre of a bitter lawsuit with a former business partner in London, has sizeable interests in Ireland.

Deripaska is worth almost €14bn, according to Forbes magazine. The aluminium mogul is locked in a bitter dispute with fellow oligarch Michael Cherney over the ownership of vast resources company Rusal. Last week, the high court in London heard sensational claims of bribery and corruption in a series of opening statements in the lawsuit that may last until September.

Deripaska's Rusal company owns the €900m valued Aughinish Alumina plant on the Shannon estuary. The factory is Ireland's largest manufacturing site and the largest alumina plant in Europe. Alumina is used to make aluminium. Latest figures from the Aughinish Alumina company show that it made pre-tax profits of €3.46m in 2010, off sales of €38.6m. The company is seeking to massively boost its capacity to surf the commodity wave.

Deripaska's Rusal took control of the Limerick plant following the €35bn buyout of Glencore's aluminium business back in 2006.

However, the Russian billionaire also owns large chunks of the motorways and dual carriageways that were built as part of the €16bn investment under the National Development Plan over the last decade. Deripaska owns 17 per cent of vast construction firm Strabag but also controls two of the nine seats on the company's board.

Strabag is part of the Directroute (Limerick) consortium, which built and operates the €590m Limerick Tunnel, which was constructed under a public-private partnership. Strabag is joined in the consortium by AIB, John Sisk & Son, Pat Mulcair's Roadbridge and Meridiam.

Last year it emerged that weak traffic numbers using the tolled tunnel meant that the State had to cough up to compensate the consortium under the terms of the public-private partnership contract. The Directroute consortium was paid €1.24m between September and December 2010 to make up for the lack of road users. Under the contract, PPP operators are guaranteed minimum payments from tolls or else the State must make up any shortfall.

Strabag is also part of the group that built and operates the €220m N8 Fermoy bypass. The consortium also includes Kellog Brown & Root, Lagan Holdings and AIB. The group will own and operate the bypass until 2034 when it returns to State ownership.

Sunday Indo Business

Promoted Links

Business Newsletter

Read the leading stories from the world of Business.

Promoted Links

Also in Business