|Known for||Head of EvrazHolding|
Alexander Abramov (Russian: Александр Григорьевич Абрамов) (born 1959) is a former scientist who became an industrial magnate as head of EvrazHolding, Russia's largest steel producer. Beginning in 1998, he has amassed the largest steel and iron empire in Russia, which employs 125,000 people, controls about 22 percent of the country's total steel output and has an annual turnover of $20 billion. A business partner and ally of Roman Abramovich, Abramov was listed on the Forbes list of billionaires for 2011 with an estimated net worth of $7.5 billion.
By the age of 31 he was a deputy head of the Institute of High Temperatures, a research base for Russia's space and defence programme. But by 1990 state funding for research institutes dried up, forcing Abramov to go into business.
One option was to sell high technologies created by his institute. But he calculated it would take four to eight years to turn a scientific application into a commercial product.
EvrazHolding is a product of Russia's growth since the 1998 financial crisis and Abramov is representative of the second wave of Russian magnates who went into business after the best assets had been taken. Unlike the first wave of politically connected oligarchs, such as Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Vladimir Potanin, Abramov had neither political leverage nor financial resources to help him benefit from Russia's chaotic privatisation of the 1990s.
In recent years Evraz-Holding has emerged as one of the most aggressive vertically integrated business groups in Russia. Its assets include three large steel mills, three coal mines and several ore-enriching plants, as well as a large commercial port, Nakhodka, in the east of the country.
He used his contacts with Russia's steel mills, which used high-temperature technologies, and offered his services not as a scientist but as a metal trader. Trading was a popular and quick way to make money in Russia in the early 1990s. The economy was shrinking, non-payment was a chronic problem and any offer of cash from a trader was welcomed by factories. By 1997, trading was less profitable and many trading companies, including Abramov's, were owed large sums by producers. Abramov began buying factories and swapped debt for equity in the Nizhny Tagil steel mill, while also buying stakes in its rail-producing plant from other shareholders.
Acquisitions, monopolies and factories
While the first wave of Russian oligarchs grabbed whatever assets they could, Mr Abramov acquired them in a much more focused way. He decided to build a monopoly for rail and steel construction products and looked for factories that would give him synergies. The only other big factories making these products were in the industrial region of Kemerovo, also home to Russia's largest coalmines. Using his old trading contacts with coalmine bosses, Abramov was introduced to Aman Tuleev, populist governor of the region.
Pitching job creation in the vacuum of bankrupt factories
The two factories Abramov was interested in were in bankruptcy in 1998. Salaries had not been paid for up to eight months and strikes were breaking out.
The deal: managers for factories
Tuleev needed good managers. Abramov needed the two factories and soon a deal was made.
As a state creditor, Tuleev would help appoint external managers loyal to EvrazHolding to run the steel mills. Abramov would pay salaries and taxes, guarantee jobs and support Tuleev's social projects.
Competition against Alfa Group
This pitched Abramov against Alfa Group, one of the most influential oligarch groups, which controlled one of the factories. While groups such as Alfa were shedding non-core assets, Mr Abramov and his like were building empires. In June 2005 EvrazHolding was listed on the London Stock Exchange. Five months later, Abramov resigned as group president but remains a member of the board.
- "The World's Billionaires". Forbes. 8 March 2007. Retrieved 15 September 2007.
- DMCP graduates. Class of 1982
- The science of forging a steel empire, Financial Times (UK), 27 August 2003
- Russian Capitalist Wiki contributors (8 November 2013). "Alexander Abramov". Russian Capitalist Wiki. Retrieved 11 November 2013.