TNK Billionaire to Pour Cash Into Power, $1 Billion in New Area

Billionaire Viktor Vekselberg will recapitalize his Russian power companies and pour as much as $1 billion into a “resource-intensive” industry at home after selling out of oil producer TNK-BP.

“We’ll definitely invest more in our energy business in Russia, that’s 100 percent sure,” Vekselberg said in an interview late yesterday in Durban, South Africa. “It’s carrying a lot of debt and has a big investment program, so we’ll recapitalize it.”

President Vladimir Putin, who blessed the TNK-BP sale, said last year that he would “very much like” for the venture’s billionaire partners to invest at least a “significant part” of their proceeds in Russia’s economy. OAO Rosneft bought TNK-BP from BP Plc (BP/) and the AAR partners, including Vekselberg, for $55 billion last week, the country’s biggest ever deal.

Vekselberg, Russia’s third-richest person with a fortune of $15.2 billion according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, controls power plants with more than 16,000 megawatts of installed capacity through his Integrated Energy Systems holding. He has also invested in technology through Swiss companies including Sulzer AG (SUN) and OC Oerlikon Corp AG. (OERL)

“Our second strategic direction is in high tech, including machinery and new technology,” Vekselberg said while attending a meeting of BRICS leaders. “We have ideas related to fundamentally new directions, which we hope will succeed.”

Vekselberg is looking at putting $1 billion into a “resource intensive” project in Russia, entering an area that he’s never invested in before, the businessman said, declining to elaborate.

Vekselberg’s Renova Group, Mikhail Fridman and German Khan’s Alfa Group and Len Blavatnik’s Access Industries were paid $27.7 billion in cash for their 50 percent of TNK-BP.

To contact the reporters on this story: Ilya Arkhipov in Durban South Africa, at iarkhipov@bloomberg.net; Scott Rose in Moscow at rrose10@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Balazs Penz at bpenz@bloomberg.net

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