Import substitution instead of import substitution | Latest news The Moscow Post
03 October 2023

Import substitution instead of import substitution

"Baikal" - Russian, filling - imported

The Astra group of companies, which positions itself as the Russian software developer Astra Linux, has planned an IPO (initial placement of shares on the stock exchange). The preliminary assessment of the company can reach 17 billion rubles. Meanwhile, this software was actually created on the basis of American Intel...

The developer of the domestic operating system Astra Linux plans to go public on the Moscow stock exchange, but the company refused to name the terms and amounts, the correspondent of The Moscow Post reports.

Earlier, the partner company Varton, under the leadership of Denis Frolov, tried to gain control over the developer of the Baikal processor, because the company needed help and investment after the arrest of its founder due to the scandal surrounding the supply of computers for the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

The Varton company specializes in the production of LED equipment and in 2020 was negotiating the purchase of more than 60% of Baikal Electronics shares. Although the amount of the transaction was not disclosed, there were many assumptions that Varton would invest about 4 billion rubles in Baikal Electronics. Co-owner of Varton Ilya Sivtsev noted that if the deal closes, they plan to focus the company's development directly on the production of processors and on expanding the product line by analogy with Intel. At the same time, Sivtsev stressed that Baikal Electronics will continue to develop as a separate business without intersections with another asset of Sivtsev, the manufacturer of the domestic operating system Astra Linux.

Earlier, fierce battles were fought for the right to dispose of state billions to create a supercomputer. The main contender was the head of VEB Igor Shuvalov.

Owner of Baikal Electronics

For 2020, almost 75% belonged to T-Platforms, but during the transaction it was planned to be reduced as much as possible, and the rest of the shares were planned to be left to T-Nano, which is an enterprise compatible with Rusnano, namely, almost 63% through a subsidiary fund of infrastructure and educational programs, as well as T-Platforms, having a little more than 37%.

T-Platforms JSC is known for its development of supercomputers for Moscow State University and Roshydromet. According to SPARK, almost 75% of this company belongs to its founder and general director Vsevolod Opanasenko, and the remaining 25% to Vnesheconombank. In March 2019, Opanasenko was placed in a pre-trial detention center on charges of inciting an official to abuse his powers, and he was also suspected of fraud in the supply of computers to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, or rather, the department considered that the Baikal-T processors that were installed under the contract, exceeding 357 million rubles, did not meet the stated requirements, in March 2020, Vsevolod Opanasenko was transferred to house arrest.

It is known that in December 2019, the representative of Vsevolod Opanasenko gave an interview, where he said that after the arrest of the founder, the financial situation of the company deteriorated significantly, in particular, she could not receive bank guarantees to participate in public procurement, because she simply lacked working capital. According to the representative, the government considered the development of options for improving T-Platforms, one of which was the transfer of 100% of VEB's subsidiary (since 2020 ВЭБ.РФ) NM-Tech, whose general director is Denis Frolov. According to some reports, T-Platforms should have come to the rescue of Baikal Electronics.

Known facts about the buyer

Earlier, we have already written about the scandalous incident of Frolov, his possible criminal case and cooperation with the head of VEB Igor Shuvalov.

The Varton group includes as many as three legal entities, the revenue of the largest of them - LLC TPK Varton - in 2019 amounted to more than 4.5 billion rubles. It is known that in each of the three companies 80% belongs to Denis Frolov, and 20% to Ilya Sivtsev. Also, these two are co-owners of the manufacturer of lasers and laser systems "Lassard," and the developer of the domestic operating system Astra Linux "RusBITech-Astra." Frolov was also the general director of the RusBITech scientific and production association.

It is worth noting that the executive director of the Association of Developers and Manufacturers of Electronics Ivan Pokrovsky once noted in an interview that Varton has almost no intersection with the activities of Baikal, but cooperation with RusBITech would undoubtedly help in creating trusted software and hardware platforms that rely on Russian processors and domestic operating systems. He also noted that Baikal Electronics is actively looking for a strategic investor in connection with the problematic situation in T-Platforms.

How the deal could affect the market

For 2020, Baikal Electronics had two processors: the dual-core Baikal-T, released in 2015, created for corporate customers, and the Baikal-M, released in 2019, created for laptops and PCs. By the end of 2020, the company planned to launch the production of Baikal-S, a processor using 16 nanometers technology for servers.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade in 2020 sued the Baikal company

The Ministry of Industry and Trade demanded 500 million rubles from Baikal Electronics due to the delay in launching the production of domestic Baikal-M microprocessors, for which state subsidies were allocated. However, the company acknowledged the delay, but found the amount of the claim too high. Recovery can significantly slow down the transition of Russian companies and government agencies to domestic hardware.

An agreement to subsidize the creation of the Baikal-M microprocessor was concluded back in 2016. Under the agreement, the first batch had to be released back in mid-2018, but it appeared only at the beginning of 2019. The total cost of development is estimated at 2.3 billion rubles, the amount of the subsidy amounted to 1.2 billion rubles. Annual revenue for 2019 amounted to almost 199 million rubles, of which a net loss amounted to 97 million rubles.

Let us remind you how it was

It is known that even before the opening of his company, Denis Frolov worked as an investment analyst, and later grew to the director of development at Wimm-Bill-Dann. According to the experience of their cooperation with PepsiCo, when they wanted to buy out the company, Denis thought that with the new bosses he would practically not make independent decisions and the idea of ​ ​ opening his own business arose.

When purchasing lighting systems for food lighting, Denis noted that the demand for LED lamps is growing in the world. At that time, in Russia, they had just begun to be sold. Frolov was sure that he could easily deal with the mechanism for selling LED products: light bulbs are a commodity of everyday demand, he compared them with yogurts and juices.

The start cost Frolov 40 million rubles, in the first year of the company's existence, namely in 2010 - sales amounted to about 15 million rubles, but by the end of 2012 Varton had earned about 1 billion rubles.

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