STRABAG sidelines Deripaska

STRABAG sidelines Deripaska

The Ukraine war and the sanctions against Russia have an impact on the actions of the construction group STRABAG: For example, the family private foundation around former boss Hans Peter Haselsteiner is withdrawing from the syndicate contract of the construction giant. Haselsteiner has terminated his contract with the Russian Rasperia Trading, which belongs to the oligarch Oleg Deripaska. Deripaska is, of course, still a core shareholder for the time being.

The now terminated agreement also includes the Uniqa and Raiffeisen Groups, after all efforts to take the Russian share had failed, as it was said by STRABAG. Although there are no EU sanctions against Deripaska, the construction company is putting him on the sidelines against the background of the war and the sanctions against Russia.

STRABAG, which has hardly any activities in Russia, is withdrawing from the country and does not want to pay a dividend to the Russian core shareholder Deripaska. The now terminated syndicate agreement had been in force since 2007 and, according to the information, provided for the coordination of voting results at the Annual General Meeting in addition to the coordinated nomination of Supervisory Board members.

Deripaska remains core shareholder

"The ownership structure has not changed," stressed Group spokeswoman Marianne Jakl on Tuesday in an interview with apa. "As a company, we have no means of intervening in the shareholder structure," she clarified. Deripaska remains a core shareholder through MKAO Rasperia Trading Limited and holds a 27.8 percent stake in STRABAG.

The private foundation of the Haselsteiner families owns 28.3 percent, the uniqa insurance company together with the raiffeisen financial group holds 29.5 percent. Only 14.4 percent are in free float. That could change in the future.

Haselsteiner himself did not want to comment personally on his now announced step out of the syndicate. "No further comment from my side – I am sorry," he said on APA request.

"Averting damage to the company"

"The Management Board welcomes the step taken by our core shareholder, the Haselsteiner Familien-Privatstiftung, to create clear conditions by terminating the syndicate agreement. On the part of the management, we are prepared to take all legally possible measures to avert damage to the company," said STRABAG CEO Thomas Birtel in a statement.

In view of the sanctions currently imposed by Great Britain and Canada, this applies in particular to the payment of dividends. As far as STRABAG's business in Russia is concerned – which is now of secondary importance at 0.3 percent of Group revenues – the Executive Board has decided to wind up the activities.

"Extensive aid measures"

STRABAG had "initiated or financed extensive aid measures, especially in the main affected corporate countries Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and the Republic of Moldova, in view of the infinite hardship of the Ukrainian population affected by the war." These initiatives will be continued by shareholders, the Executive Board and employees "in accordance with the Group's Code of Values with pride in the future".

STRABAG did not want to comment on the rumor that the syndicate of core shareholders was about to end and should be dissolved in the summer at the latest, as the "Stock Exchange" recently reported, citing a fund manager, at the beginning of March. "With regard to our shareholder structure, we ask for your understanding that the Management Board cannot make any statements about the sphere of the owners and the associated syndicate agreement," it said just two weeks ago.

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