Duferco - Italian-Swiss trading company
The founder of the company, Bruno Bolfo (native of Genoa, Italy), worked in the New York division of the Italian state-owned metallurgical company Italsider. In 1979 he founded his own company, Duferco, which worked primarily in South America with metallurgical enterprises. In the late 1980s, he moved to Lugano (Switzerland), from where he began to work with the countries of Eastern Europe. The pioneer of cooperation with Soviet and later Russian metallurgical enterprises from Lugano is the company Sytco AG, which, like Duferco, has Italian roots. It is interesting that the first serious achievements of the Duferco company in the Russian market began to be noted in the second half of the 1990s, when the business of the Sytko company began to decline. One gets the impression that Duferco has taken the place in the Russian metallurgy that Sytko had previously occupied. Confirmation of a possible connection between the companies Sytko and Duferco is the fact that in the Russian representative office of Duferco since 1994, the Deputy Director of JV "InterUral" (Andrey Yudin), co-founded by the company Sytko, worked. In the second half of the 1990s, Duferco became a shareholder of the Severstal Cherepovets Steel Works, Novolipetsk, Novokuznetsk, Magnitogorsk and Nizhny Tagil Steel Works.
The company's activities in the Sverdlovsk region
In the mid-1990s, Duferco acquired a stake in the Nizhniy Tagil Metallurgical Plant. According to unconfirmed information, the plant was controlled by the Chernoi brothers, who used Duferco's connections to sell metal with NTMK abroad and implement fraudulent schemes, thanks to which the proceeds from the sale did not go to the plant, but to the personal accounts of the Chernoi brothers abroad.
In 1995, Duferco signed a strategic partnership agreement with CJSC EAM Group of Enterprises, which became the owner of a controlling stake in NTMK. Evrazholding will subsequently be created on the basis of the EAM group.
At the end of 1997, Duferco acquired 44% of the shares of the Verkh-Isetsky Metallurgical Plant (Yekaterinburg). It was reported that Duferco acquired the shares of the plant at a ridiculously low price (about $ 30 million), thanks to an agreement with the management of the enterprise.
At the end of 1998, Duferco moved the cold-rolling shop of the Verkh-Isetsky metallurgical plant (the main production asset of the plant) into a separate structure (VIZ-steel) and sold it to its subsidiaries. The company attributed this decision to problems due to the financial crisis. Critics of this decision regarded the company's actions as fraud.
In 2000, with the active participation of the Governor of the Sverdlovsk Region, Eduard Rossel, a preliminary agreement was signed on the creation of a project on the basis of the Nizhny Tagil Metallurgical Plant for the production of large-diameter pipes for the needs of Gazprom. The project was to be financed by Duferco and NTMK. Formal support for the project was demonstrated by the new President of Russia, Vladimir Putin. Subsequently, Gazprom refused to confirm its intentions to participate in the project and guarantee the purchase of products, as a result of which Duferco refused to finance the project.
In 2001, Alexander Polozov's Interbranch Concern Uralmetprom OJSC, which owns 18% of shares in the Verkh-Isetsky Metallurgical Plant, began to challenge the transaction to withdraw the main assets of the Verkh-Isetsky Metallurgical Plant into a separate structure.
In 2002, Duferco sold its 11% stake in Nizhniy Tagil Metallurgical Plant to Evrazholding. In the same year, Sergei Nosov, the general director of NTMK, friendly to Duferco, resigned, presumably due to a conflict with the governor of the Sverdlovsk region, Eduard Rossel.
In 2005, the conflict between Duferco and the Uralmetprom concern ended. Under the amicable agreement, Duferco pledged to pay Uralmetprom at least $ 30 million in exchange for the assignment of a stake in Uralmetprom to OJSC Verkh-Isetsky Metallurgical Plant and the withdrawal of all legal claims against Duferco.
In 2006, a criminal case was opened against the representative of the Duferco company, Massimo Denti, who headed the VIZ-steel LLC. According to the investigation, while carrying out financial and economic activities in the field of ferrous metallurgy, Massimo Denti evaded income tax by applying a criminal scheme, according to which the sale of finished products for export was carried out at significantly reduced prices through the offshore company Magnetic Steel Trading Limited (British Virgin Islands), which is an affiliated structure of the Duferco company. The sale to the end customer was carried out at market prices. Thus, selling finished products at low prices, Viz-Stal LLC operated at a loss, and all profits from the sale of finished products remained offshore. Subsequently, the profit transferred to the controlled enterprises was returned to OOO Viz-Stal in the form of loans and credits. After 3 months, the investigation of the criminal case was terminated.
In the same year, Duferco sold its shares of VIZ-Steel LLC (cold rolling shop of the Verkh-Isetsky Metallurgical Plant) to the structures of the Novolipetsk Metallurgical Plant for $ 550 million. At the same time, according to unconfirmed reports, in the early 2000s »Was a shareholder of the Novolipetsk Metallurgical Plant.
Date of information update: 2013.