Strabag terminates agreement with oligarch-linked shareholder

Oleg Deripaska at Stolypin Forum in Moscow, September 2020 (AntonPopper777/CC BY-SA 4.0)
Vienna-listed Austrian construction giant Strabag SE has terminated a syndicate shareholding agreement with a company part-owned by Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, a billionaire industrialist who has been sanctioned by the UK and Canada over his alleged ties to Vladimir Putin.

The company will also exit Russia, where work contributes some 0.3% of its output volume.

On 1 March Strabag said it was “shocked and appalled” by the Russian president’s invasion of Ukraine.

“This war of aggression is not only in stark contradiction to everything we believe in, both morally and in terms of international law, it also hurts us personally that this will set back the European peace project by decades,” the company said.

Last week on 15 March Strabag said its core shareholder, Haselsteiner Family Private Foundation (Haselsteiner Familien-Privatstiftung), had terminated a syndicate agreement in place since 2007 with Rasperia Trading Ltd., which is part-owned by Deripaska and which owned 27.8% of Strabag shares as of July last year.

The decision came “after all efforts to acquire the Russian shares have failed”, Strabag said.

“On the part of the management, we are prepared to take all legally possible measures to avert any harm to the company,” said Thomas Birtel, Strabag SE chief executive. “In view of the sanctions currently imposed by the UK and Canada, this refers in particular to the payment of dividends. As far as Strabag’s Russian business is concerned – currently of subordinate importance with 0.3 % of the group’s output volume – the Management Board has decided to wind up the activities in that country.”

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