TAIF Group: key events of the outgoing year
Change in leadership, new partners and agreements, large-scale projects and achievements
The steady growth of financial and performance indicators in key activities, high efficiency of multi-billion-dollar investments in own development, including the construction of new and expansion of existing capacities, regular victories of sports teams supported by TAIF Group and the implementation of the most important social projects. The year 2019 was full of bright events for TAIF Group. Read the details in the material of Realnoe Vremya.
TAIF's like a Swiss watch
“TAIF is a well-oiled, balanced mechanism in preparation and decision-making. It remains only to improve the already laid foundations and rules and see what can be improved as effectively as possible without disturbing the balance. The task is the following: to improve further and further," Ruslan Shigabutdinov stressed immediately after his election to the post of Director General of TAIF PSC. The shareholders of the parent company of TAIF Group supported his candidacy at the annual general shareholder meeting of TAIF PSC held in June unanimously.
“Albert Kashafovich stood at the origin of TAIF Group. Today, the company has become the largest Russian holding company. He is a man who has achieved the impossible. Some of the things he said seemed unattainable, but he succeeded. I wish the new leader to be remain as purposeful as he is and achieve goals. Albert Kashafovich has always had such quality: to choose very complex tasks and be able to implement them, mobilizing both finances and people. And, of course, he never felt sorry for himself. I think that Ruslan Albertovich has already gone through a good school. He is an experienced man. Farewell!” President of Tatarstan Rustam Minnikhanov gave a parting word to Ruslan Shigabutdinov.
Albert Shigabutdinov, who has managed TAIF Group since its foundation, accepted the offer to become the chief adviser to the director general of TAIF PSC for development and to head a new entity — TAIF Management Сompany, which combined the group's investment assets that are not related to the main production companies.
In mid-January 2019, in the headquarters of TAIF PSC, Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC and Danish Haldor Topsoe signed contracts for the provision of licenses and engineering services for the methanol production technology with a capacity of 500,000 tonnes a year. Today, methanol, necessary for the production of formaldehyde used in the production of isoprene, is purchased by Nizhnekamskneftekhim (NKNH). This includes additional logistics costs, dependence on the situation on the methanol market, and additional burden on the environment. The construction of the complex will solve these problems.
“We produce about half of isoprene in the world needed for the production of synthetic rubber. Instability in world markets has a strong impact on the issue of providing with raw materials from which synthetic rubber is produced. And one of the basic tasks of the next few years is to optimize production processes and technologies and to achieve a significant economic effect both in the production of rubbers and in the production of isoprene. One of the important components of production is methanol, " Abert Shigabutdinov, present at the signing ceremony, said.
“This is a very important project for us, as the production of methanol adds another processing stage. It is the production of methanol, which we now buy from various companies, that will allow us to be more competitive in the market. If now we have a chain of formaldehyde-isobutylene-isoprene-synthetic rubber, then after the project is implemented, methanol will be added. We will produce formaldehyde from it, thus closing the entire cycle for the production of synthetic isoprene rubber," Azat Bikmurzin, the director general of Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC, explained immediately after the signing ceremony.
“We are confident that the project will be successful because we are ready to combine our extensive experience in the market of catalysts and methanol production technologies with the practical experience and strong positions of TAIF and Nizhnekamskneftekhim. I look forward to the moment when the production will be put into operation. We will attract the best technical services to support the project throughout its implementation and further operation," said Bjarne Steffen Klausen, the president and CEO of Haldor Topsoe.
The development of the design and working documentation has been entrusted to the Nizhny Novgorod Research and Design Institute of Urea and Organic Synthesis Products of NIIK JSC. The agreement was signed on the same day.
In October 2019, during the public hearings on the construction of a new methanol plant, the residents of Nizhnekamsk who participated in the discussion supported the project. The construction is planned to be completed within the next few years. The plant will be built on the site of three outdated plants, which will significantly reduce the burden on the environment.
“TAIF Group celebrates the opening of new production facilities every year," Tatarstan President Rustam Minnikhanov once said. The year 2019 was no exception: in April, on the territory of Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC, the ceremony of official commissioning of the benzene extraction unit was held.
“We are launching a plant that will improve the economy, improve the production. This is a vivid example of how Nizhnekamskneftekhim can work: smoothly, accurately, in time," said during the ceremony Ruslan Shigabutdinov.
“This launch is only one of the stages that TAIF Group consistently implements in the modernization and construction of new production. This will give the company the opportunity to become even more stable economically, to develop further, to depend less on foreign markets," said First Deputy Prime Minister of Tatarstan Rustam Nigmatullin.
The new plant optimizes the process of processing the benzene-containing fraction inside the production and will unload the existing energy-intensive units. Thanks to the new unit, the company will produce 265,000 tonnes of benzene a year, which will completely eliminate the purchase of benzene on the side.
The project for the construction of the ethylene complex — EP-1200 (the construction agreement was signed in 2017, and in 2018 — the agreement to receive a syndicated loan of 807 million euros for the construction of the first stage — the production of EP-600) this year has moved into an active phase of implementation. A number of meetings and negotiations were held with the top management of the German group of companies Linde AG, acting as the licensor and general contractor during the year, within the implementation of the project, both in Tatarstan and in Germany.
For example, in March, during a visit to the headquarters of TAIF PSC, Executive Vice President of Linde plc, Dublin and Guildford and CEO of Linde Engineering
Christian Bruch noted that the equipment for the EP-600 was already being manufactured, the technical documentation has been almost completed and the main work was being moved to the construction site.
The training of the personnel who will work at the new production facilities has already begun. In January, the first stage of the Olefin Academy was held. Ninety listeners — employees of Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC, the best students of the Nizhnekamsk Institute of Chemical Technology and Kazan National Research Technological University, finished a special course of lectures prepared by German experts on modern trends in ethylene production, features of obtaining and operating pyrolysis furnaces that will be installed on the EP-600.
“The next stage of the Olefin Academy is planned for the next year. We have trained about a hundred specialists, but we want to make this programme continuous to train more people, including in educational institutions," said Christian Bruch during a visit of the Tatarstan delegation headed by President of the Republic of Tatarstan Rustam Minnikhanov to Germany. He spoke about Linde Engineering's desire to make the project more academic to have the opportunity to transfer knowledge to a greater number of Tatarstan specialists.
Another German company — Siemens — is also an active participant in the implementation of the EP-600 project.
“Both Tatarstan and TAIF are long-standing partners for us, and we try to develop these relations. For us, participation in the ethylene complex project is just as important as participation in energy projects," said Willi Maiksner, the head of the Energy and Gas Production Department at Siemens AG, during a meeting in Munich in February of this year.
In June, but this time in St. Petersburg, President of the German concern Joe Kaeser said the same thing: “We are very proud of our reliable partnership with Tatarstan and TAIF Group and conduct business on the basis of mutual trust.”
The company is building a 495 MW CCPP for Nizhnekamskneftekhim and the future ethylene complex (the agreement was signed in 2017), and in October this year at Russian Energy Week international forum 2019, TAIF Group and Siemens signed another contract in the presence of the director general of TAIF PSC. The German company will build a new steam-gas plant, but now with a capacity of 250 MW for Kazanorgsintez PJSC. Contracts were also signed for servicing gas turbine installations.
“The main goal of the construction of energy facilities under TAIF Group is to ensure the energy security of the enterprises. Siemens offers state-of-the-art technologies that allow us to use gas blowers to generate energy without burning them into the atmosphere. We will get a good environmental and economic effect. We will seriously improve the environmental situation in the area of Kazanorgsintez, Kazan and Tatarstan," Ruslan Shigabutdinov said at a press conference that took place immediately after the signing.
Meetings and arrangements
In general, the year 2019 was full of meetings with business partners. For example, a delegation of the American company General Electric, headed by Chairman of GE Gas Power John Rice and Chief Executive Officer of GE in Russia and the CIS Ron Pollett, visited Kazan on an official visit in February.
“Partnership with TAIF Group and Tatarstan in general is very important for us. We highly appreciate the work that President Rustam Minnikhanov is doing to make the republic attractive for businesses. Our success here is a perfect example of the work that has been done. And, of course, our partnership with TAIF is the most important aspect of this work," said John Rice, the chairman of GE Gas Power, in the interview with Realnoe Vremya.
One of the goals of this trip is to meet with the management of TAIF JSC and discuss promising areas of cooperation. By the way, GE also applied for a contract to build a CCPP for Kazanorgsintez, as well as the Italian company Ansaldo Energia, a delegation of top managers of which under the leadership of Director General Giuseppe Zampini visited the headquarters of TAIF PSC in July 2019.
A delegation of top managers of another Italian group of companies — Maire Tecnimont Group — visited Kazan in June. Giovanni Sale, the vice-president for commercial affairs and development of the concern, expressed interest in resuming cooperation with the Tatarstan group of companies and taking an active part in the implementation of plans for the development of TAIF Group. For example, in the construction of the second stage of the olefin complex EP-1200.
In March, Ihab Ahmed Talaat Nasr, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Arab Republic of Egypt to Russia, met with the management of TAIF Group. They discussed the prospects for mutually beneficial cooperation. In particular, the ambassador noted that Egypt is determined to create effective oil and gas processing and petrochemical industries on its territory. The Arab Republic is interested in using the experience and capabilities of TAIF Group on its territory as the largest producer of polymers and rubbers in Russia, whose name is well known throughout the world.
“We have access to the markets of thirty-four African countries, unhindered access to the markets of all Arab countries and twenty-eight countries of the European Union, which is one and a half billion people, and if you decide to take a strategic step, I think TAIF is waiting for a great future," the ambassador said.
“Over the past 25 years, our activities have been dedicated to the development of our native land — the Republic of Tatarstan. All of our chemical and petrochemical plants, which are part of the group of companies, have been modernized over the past 20 years using the most modern technologies. And we continue to improve. Now we are implementing the world's first project for deep processing of heavy residues, which will produce almost 98 per cent of light oil products. We are ready to work outside of Tatarstan and Russia. We are waiting for your proposals," Albert Shigabutdinov, who led the negotiations, confirmed his readiness for a constructive dialogue.
Also during the year, a number of meetings were held at the headquarters of TAIF PSC. For example, in early April, negotiations were held with the top management of the largest construction company in Kazakhstan BI Group, whose representatives declared their readiness to quickly and efficiently build objects of any complexity for TAIF. A group of companies that annually invest a billion dollars in their own development needs such partners, the guests were assured.
Enka Insaat ve Sanayi A.S. (Enka), a long-time partner of TAIF, the leader of the construction industry in Turkey, also announced its readiness for even closer cooperation, new contracts and more work. A delegation of the Turkish company led by Director General and Chairman of the Executive Committee of Enka Mehmet Tara visited the headquarters of TAIF PSC in April.
“TAIF is a very professional company. We are glad to cooperate with it. Our cooperation has been going on for about 2 years, and we hope that it will continue in the future. We closely monitore all the projects that TAIF Group starts, and we plan to participate in all the tenders that will be announced," Mehmet Tara said.
With a representative delegation of businessmen and officials of the Altai territory, which under the leadership of Minister of Industry and Energy of the region Alexander Klimin visited Kazan also in April, the conversation was about the possibilities of attracting Altai specialists to implement projects in Tatarstan:
“The cooperation with TAIF in the next few years, including on long-term programmes that the holding sets for itself, will serve as a litmus test for the transition of enterprises to another level, will allow us to get away from interregional cooperation. Of course, the directors of our companies are interested in this. And we, representatives of the executive power of the Altai territory, too. We will create maximum conditions for these plans to be implemented. These are measures of state support for our enterprises, and proposals to establish joint ventures, possibly on the territory of Tatarstan. We need to discuss everything in detail," Alexander Klimin said during the meeting.
The Altai territory is also interesting to TAIF as one of the most beautiful places for recreation. Caring about employees, the management of the group of companies asked to provide maximum information about the conditions and opportunities for recreation for employees of the group companies.
The management of the South Korean company SK Engineering & Construction, which is part of SK Group — one of the leading industrial holdings in South Korea, also expressed regret about the late arrival in Tatarstan, missed opportunities and the readiness to work with TAIF. There are prospects for this. The management of TAIF Group already at the first meeting, held in May, outlined four possible areas of cooperation: the Korean company may become a licensor for the Tatarstan group of companies to purchase technology for the production of isocyanates for the production of polyurethanes. Besides, the direction of production of engine oils requires development. Besides, the company can become one of the group's partners in the supply of Tatarstan rubbers to South Korea and, finally, take engineering and construction participation in the implementation of TAIF Group's projects.
In June at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, TAIF Group signed two agreements: on strategic cooperation with Yokogawa Electric CIS PLC and an additional agreement with Schneider Electric.
“We have a long-term relationship with TAIF. We are a supplier of automation systems, but, in addition, we are also a supplier of solutions aimed at improving the efficiency of enterprises, including projects for the new construction of units in the petrochemical and oil refining sector. In addition to the production sector, we are also engaged in training. This is our contribution to the development of society," said Takashi Nishijima, the chairman of the board of directors of the Yokogawa Electric Corporation.
“Tatarstan is one of the leading regions for the introduction of innovative technologies, and it is a great honour for Schneider Electric to work with one of the key companies in the region — TAIF Group, which allows us to implement and develop solutions that really increase the efficiency of enterprises," said Johan Vanderplaetse, Senior Vice President, President of Schneider Electric in Russia and the CIS.
“TAIF Group has a serious strategy of investing in new projects, where the most modern technologies are laid. Both Yokogawa and Schneider Electric are world leaders. And the fact that these leaders have chosen TAIF as their strategic partner means that they are coming to us for a long time. This is positive not only for the republic, but also for the country as a whole," Rustam Minnikhanov, who was present at both signatures, concluded.
Socially responsible business
Demonstrating effective growth of both production capacity and financial indicators, TAIF Group actively participates in the implementation of socially significant projects.
In early February 2019, with the participation of President of Tatarstan Rustam Minnikhanov and the management of TAIF PSC, the long-awaited opening of the largest underground parking in the republic and the second largest in Russia took place in the centre of Kazan, near the NCC Kazan.
“There is a problem with parking in the centre of Kazan: there's nowhere to park a car. This causes great inconvenience to residents and tourists. Today, thanks to TAIF Group, there is beautiful parking for almost a thousand cars, modern, convenient and in demand," Rustam Minnikhanov said at the opening of the parking lot.
“The order to build the parking lot, given at the investment council meeting three years ago, has materialized today. Kazan has received a serious complex that is going to solve many problems associated with traffic and to improve the environment,” added Ruslan Shigabutdinov.
The republic received a modern four-level underground car park with an area of almost 53,000 square metres designed for 895 cars as well as outdoor parking for 62 car lots for cars of disabled people and parking for five tourist buses as a present for the upcoming 100th anniversary from TAIF Group of Companies. The underground car park is equipped with a reliable ventilation system, eight e-car charging points and an automatic car wash.
One can get to the parking both from Pushkina and Podluzhnaya Streets. Moreover, the latter doesn’t spoil the view of the riverbank slope whose renovation was completed by TAIF GC last year.
A solemn opening of biological treatment facilities (BTF) of Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC took place in August after large-scale reconstruction. It is the biggest environmental project implemented by TAIF Group of Companies. The total amount of investments in the creation of the modern hermetic complex meeting the strictest international environmental safety requirements exceeded 3 billion rubles. President of Tatarstan Rustam Minnikhanov, Director General of TAIF JSC, Chairman of the Board of Directors at Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC Ruslan Shigabutdinov, Director General of Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC Azat Bikmurzin and other officials participated in the launching ceremony of the facility, which is of paramour importance to all Nizhnekamsk.
“There can’t even doubt that costs on ecology are necessary. Compliance with all environmental standards is the key task of the factory, the shareholders. Today we are finishing the second stage of the reconstruction and moving towards the third stage. Any big industrial enterprise always has a lot of ecological issues. But I believe that with the support of the republic, the president and our active work, we will resolve all issues, and the environmental situation in the city and the region will be better than at any point of the globe. Chemistry must be green, such technologies exist,” Ruslan Shigabutdinov added.
Last summer, TAIF Group of Companies together with Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC created a modern burns unit at the Nizhnekamsk Central Regional Polyclinic. The unit designed for six beds (for in Surgery and two in ICU) is equipped with all the necessary things for emergency care about people who suffered from fire. The total value of the project is over 113 million rubles. The appearance of such a centre will allow patients even with serious burns to receive help fast. Earlier, they had to be transported to Kazan or Naberezhnye Chelny.
There is almost no project on conservation of historical and cultural landmarks and support for good undertakings without TAIF GC’s active participation. This year, on behalf of the whole group of companies Ruslan Shigabutdinov has received a deserved award from Prime Minister of Tatarstan Aleksey Pesoshin at the 12th award ceremony of winners of Benefactor of the Year republican contest.
Throughout its history, TAIF Group of Companies has actively supported amateur and professional sport. And feeling a strong shoulder beside, teams and athletes please it with victories. For instance, pilot of TAIF-Motorsport Dmitry Bragin became a four-time winner of the Russian circuit race series in the most prestigious class Turing in September.
His teammate Timur Shigabutdinov finished first at the final stage of the FIA European Rallycross Championship in Super 1600 in September.
Just four days after the victorious heat, Timur Shigabutdinov — the adviser to the director general of TAIF JSC, vice director general of Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC and president of Neftekhimik FC — was elected to the Board of Trustees of the Russian Football Union. And TAIF JSC and the RFU signed an agreement on long-term cooperation in Moscow on 18 December. “We are glad to sign the partnership agreement with TAIF JSC,” said Aleksandr Dyukov, the president of the RFU, then. “This company has been successfully developing sports, including football traditions in Tatarstan for many years. I am convinced that our partnership will be mutually beneficial and help make football popular both in Tatarstan and other Russian regions.”
“Throughout its long history, TAIF has actively participated in the development of different sports, including football, it has become the sponsor of leading sports clubs of the Republic of Tatarstan. Today we are joining our forces for the mutually beneficial partnership. The agreement between TAIF JSC and the RFU envisages joint cooperation in development and popularisation of Russian football, including in the Republic of Tatarstan. Development of children and youth football is one of the tasks we set to ourselves together with the RFU,” Timur Shigabutdinov said during a media scrum.
Pupils of Sintez Water Sports Club also demonstrate decent results. Tatarstan President Rustam Minnikhanov gave deserved awards in the Kazan Kremlin in late August: the medal For Valiant Labour to Aleksandr Krasnykh who won a silver at the World Swimming Championships and a gratitude of the Tatarstan president to the Universiade’s champion in Napoli Yegor Kuimov and bronze medallist Karina Shklyar who won it in 3m springboard at the Universiade in Napoli.
Another two Tatarstan athletes, members of Sintez Water Sports Club Aleksandr Belevtsev and Nikita Shleikher became European diving champions in 2019.
Sequence of jubilees
The group of companies is going to celebrate its 30th anniversary in 2020. But there were a lot of jubilees in 2019 too. So one of Russia’s leading water polo teams Sintez, which became part of the namesake water sports club last year, celebrated its 45th jubilee since foundation in 2019.
“If not the support the enterprise (Editor’s Note: Kazanorgsintez PJSC) has been rendering to water polo for these 45 years, there would have been nothing. Many thanks for it, few such top water polo clubs have remained in Russia in general,” famous athletes, a deputy of the Russian State Duma from Tatarstan, President of the club Irek Zinnurov stressed on the jubilee day.
The first GSM call in Tatarstan (and one of the first in Russia) was made 20 years ago on 3 March. The appearance of the standard in the republic is the merit of TAIF Group of Companies that created Santel mobile operator in the 90s. And First President, today’s State Adviser of the Republic of Tatarstan Mintimer Shaimiyev was the first person who said “hello” using a wireless network.
The staff of TAIF-ST was congratulated on the 20th anniversary in October.
“The company has passed a serious way of development of intense laborious work. Today, TAIF-ST rightfully occupies a leading position in the construction market of Tatarstan. Thanks to the accumulated experience, high professionalism, team cohesion, TAIF-ST has gained a reputation as a reliable service provider, trusted and sought to cooperate with government organizations and large customers. Residential buildings, social infrastructure, sports, cultural and entertainment facilities, administrative buildings, built over the years by your company, have become an integral part of our capital. TAIF-ST made an invaluable contribution to the cultural and historical heritage of the city,” TAIF JSC Vice Director General in Construction and Major Overhaul Ilgiz Latypov noted in his speech onstage.
And the celebration of the 90th birthday of Nizhnekamskneftekhim’s founder and one of the creators of Nizhnekamsk, the legend of Russian petrochemistry Nikolay Lemayev became the most important and biggest jubilee.
Seeing the development pace of TAIF GC in particular and the republic in general, one can assert that there are greater and more complicated projects, which Tatarstan really needs, are to come in the future.