Ukrainian oligarch Rinat Akhmetov, owner of the Ukrainian fossil fuel giant DTEK Group, the country’s energy holding, has been in Ukraine since the first day of Russian invasion of the country, DTEK CEO Maksym Timchenko claimed in an interview with the Ekonomichna Pravda online business newspaper on April 26.
"In the first days of the war, he publicly announced his personal position and the position of our whole group, calling Putin a war criminal, calling Russia a country that commits crimes against our country every day, and that he personally and the whole group will do everything to win this war,” DTEK’s CEO stressed.
"From the point of view of the shareholder's relationship with the authorities, it's difficult for me to comment on this, because I don't know about this relationship. But I know about the relationship between business and government. Currently, there is full consolidation in everything we do."He added that "war often puts everything in its place" and there are fewer gray areas.
Asked about the group's assets in Russia, Timchenko said they had been taken away for debts due to default.
"So far, we have no assets in Russia and no relations with Russia," he insisted.
"If we talk about Russian mines, we had a large debt on the balance of these enterprises. Since these mines were pledged to (Russia's state owned bank) Sberbank, the shares of these mines were written off against this debt."
Timchenko also said that DTEK Group has also lost control over the Luhansk thermal power plant in the town of Schastia, since Feb. 25, and was unaware of its current status.
"Our second problematic Ukrainian facility is located in Russian-controlled territory, but for security reasons it's not worth talking about it in public. All of our other power generating companies are operating quite stably."
According to Timchenko, the Group owes more than $2.8 billion, and continues to service its debt.
"In agreement with our creditors, funds have been postponed or frozen to continue servicing the debt from six to nine months,” Timchenko noted, adding that this has given DTEK a buffer to work with.
"For one of our companies, DTEK Energo, we partially capitalized on quarterly interest payments and partially paid in cash. But, of course, the situation will largely depend on how events develop further."
He estimates that in the current situation, the Group will be able to work for another six or nine months, "based on today's schedule of debt service."
Since the start of the war, DTEK says only 30% of used electricity has been paid for nationwide, but the situation has begun to level off, and now about 55% of generated power is paid for.
"Another thing is the amount of consumption," Timchenko said.
"It is 35% lower than before the war, currently. This reason, combined with the fall in electricity fees, has led to a liquidity gap in the Ukrainian energy market of about $300 million a month."
According to Forbes, Akhmetov's wealth has dropped by $3.4 billion over the past year, to $4.2 billion.
Earlier, the energy oligarch announced his intention to rebuild metallurgical enterprises in Mariupol, and help restore the city, which has mostly been destroyed by Russian attacks.