12 Aug 2022 13:31

Volga-Dnepr owner Isaikin to exit group - paper

MOSCOW. Aug 12 (Interfax) - The founder and principal owner of leading Russian cargo airline Volga-Dnepr, Alexei Isaikin, who has been hit by UK sanctions in June, is divesting his stakes in all of the group's Russian and foreign entities and handing the reins to management, national daily Kommersant reported on Friday, citing industry sources.

A spokesman for the group confirmed this information, saying that, "after working in the aviation industry for 45 years, [Isaikin] decided to withdraw from the shareholder structure of the company and transfer management to an executive team with 32 years of unique competencies in international air cargo services."

Volga-Dnepr Group, which includes airlines AirBridgeCargo, Volga-Dnepr and Atran, is one of the world's largest providers of superheavy and oversized air cargo services. Stakes of 51% in these three companies are owned by Volga-Dnepr-Moskva LLC, which in turn is wholly owned by Netherlands-based Volga-Dnepr Logistics B.V., data from the Unified State Register of Legal Entities.

The group's parent company until now was Liechtenstein-based Alpine Prosperity Foundation, which was wholly owned by Isaikin, Kommersant said, citing the financial statement of the group's insurance company.

The paper's sources said Isaikin is divesting his stakes in all of his foreign assets, including Alpine Prosperity Foundation, Gloria 7 S.a r.l. (Luxembourg), Volga-Dnepr Logistics B.V., CargoLogic Germany and CargoLogicAir (UK), following the imposition of sanctions against him so as to reduce the risks for the operations of the international companies, avoid the risk of accounts being blocked and "continue to work with customers, banks and lawyers in Europe."

CargoLogic Germany and CargoLogicAir are airlines that Isaikin registered as a citizen of Cyprus. But in mid-March the European aviation authorities barred their flights after finding that the businessman's first citizenship is Russian. The fleet of the former consists of four Boeing 737s and it is now in bankruptcy proceedings, while the later operates two Boeing 747s.

At present, Russian airline Volga-Dnepr is the only one in the group to continue flying. It operates a fleet of 12 An-124-100s and five Il-76TD-90Vs.

Neither Isaikin nor sources close to him have said what the businessman will do now, the paper said. One source said he might organize projects in aircraft construction, in "which he has long shown interest," the paper said. Isaikin also has "strong competencies in aircraft maintenance," which is now very important for Russia's airline industry, or he might finance aviation startups, such as in light aviation, another source said.