The Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) agreed with Global Ports on the gradual withdrawal from dollar tariffs, Interfax reported on Monday the words of the head of the department Igor Artemyev. “This means that the relevant tariff policy changes in favor of consumers, and they will come out of dollars gradually, and a number of our other standard requirements,” he said.
The representative of the FAS declined to comment further until the court approved the settlement agreement with Global Ports. Artemiev expressed the hope that the court would approve him: “I have already signed the project on my part and the one that we submit to the court.”
Most likely, FAS and Global Ports have developed an acceptable transition for the company to rubles, the analyst of Raiffeisenbank Konstantin Yuminov assumes. The company will have the opportunity to refinance foreign currency debt in time, transfer it into rubles, so that there is no discrepancy between the debt and the proceeds when the exchange rate changes, he says. The foreign currency debt of Global Ports is two issues of Eurobonds for a total of $ 700 million with maturities in 2022 and 2023. The company’s net debt at the end of the first half of 2017 was $ 915 million.
FAS in June last year began the case against several stevedoring companies, including Global Ports, UCL Holdings and NCSP, on the grounds of violation of the antimonopoly legislation. As noted in his report Global Ports, the agency considered that several “subsidiaries” of the company (First container terminal in St. Petersburg, East Stevedoring Company, Petrolesport) since January 2015 established and maintained monopolistically high prices for loading and unloading of containers , FAS decided to return Global Ports to the budget 7 billion rubles. and go to the calculations in rubles. Global Ports noted in the report that it always offered market, competitive prices for its services, and from the beginning of 2017 offered its Russian clients prices in rubles.
Representatives of Global Ports, UCL Holdings and NCSP did not respond to requests.
The problem of denomination of rates in foreign currency arose after the devaluation of the ruble in the second half of 2014, reminds General Director of Infoline analyst Mikhail Burmistrov. The ruble expenses of exporters and importers increased sharply, which naturally raised questions, he said: moreover, this increase was imposed on the period of low prices for some types of raw materials, which resulted in a sharp increase in the share of transportation costs in the cost structure of products.
The initiators of the transfer of settlements into rubles were oil companies, for which, during a period of low oil prices, any change in the cost structure became painful, although they also sell abroad not for rubles, adds Yuminov.
In August, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Russian ports should calculate tariffs in rubles from January 1, 2018. But they will be applied with reservations for some stevedore projects, said Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov: since there is a risk of losses for projects that have not yet been launched profit.
In Russia, the cost of stevedoring services is higher than the world average, since most Russian port facilities are built over the past 15 years and are at the stage of repayment of investments and repayment of loans attracted for the implementation of projects, Burmistrov continues. At the same time, since 2016 Russian stevedores are actively switching to settlements in rubles: for example, the analysis of tariffs of stevedoring companies in the 20 largest ports of Russia showed that already more than 45% of tariffs are denominated in Russian currency, the expert estimates.
Global Ports has already transferred to Russian rubles tariffs with Russian customers, which, however, do not occupy a very large share in the company’s revenue, Yuminov says: most of the company’s revenues are brought by international container companies, in this part it is difficult to understand the principledness of the government. International companies will still offer their customers currency prices, and for them there is no difference: to pay Russian ports in rubles or dollars, and the ports because of exchange rate differences may appear lost revenue, says Yuminov.
Author: Ivan Peschinsky
Article in Russian: Vedomosti