YEREVAN (Arka)—Samvel Karapetyan, the founder of Tashir Group, has vowed to develop Electric Networks of Armenia into a profitable company.
Electric Networks of Armenia is a good company and a long-term asset, and run by Tashir Group, it will become far better, he said in an interview with RBC.
It became known in early autumn that Tashir has bought two subsidiaries of Inter RAO UES in Armenia – the Electric Networks of Armenia and Hrazadan Thermal Power Plant.
Before that protests against increase in electric power prices rocked Yerevan.
Tashir is going to share the government commitment to pay the difference between the current and the previous price in citizens’ bills. After that Tashir will embark on economic and technical modernization of the company, RBC reports referring to the information received from Karapetyan.
“On one side, we want to put the company’s things right, and on the other side, we understand that this is a strategic asset that influences investment climate in the country,” he said. “I am convinced we will manage to change it.”
At the moment of the deal the company had $220 million in debt. “The asset was bought to repay these debts,” Karapetyan said without revealing details of the deal. “We received the company in a tight squeeze. It was a loss-making company, but it will become a profit-gainer.”
He said people in Armenia pay bills for consumed electricity regularly and on time. “Now payment for the population-consumed electric power makes up around 99.8%,” the entrepreneur said in his interview. “We don’t think about margin so far and we will not think about it at least in the next five years. This is a long-term asset forever.”
Asked by RBC who has offered the company sale-purchase deal, the owner of Tashir said that the offer came from one of members of the Inter RAO UES board, and the final decision was made at the Armenian authorities’ request.
Commenting on the rumors going around about a political motivation [the alleged ambition to obtain the prime-ministerial seat for well-known politician Karen Karapetyan, Samvel Karapetyan’s brother and former head of the Armenian president’s administration – RBC], the businessman said that these rumors have been going around throughout one decade, but his brother never became prime minister.
”We consider the purchase of the Electric Networks as both business and support for the homeland,” he said.
Karapetyan also answered the question about use of offshore scheme in this deal.
“I see nothing strange in that,” he said. “As for purchase of the Electric Networks of Armenia, this was a very complicated international deal in terms of its structure – the company was bought from a subsidiary Inter RAO UES. An offshore scheme has been chosen to ensure clarity to the deal.”
Tashir Group and Inter RAO UES sealed the Armenian electric energy assets sale-purchase deal on September 30, 2015. It is already approved by the Armenian government and the Public Services Regulatory Commission.
Electric Network of Armenia CJSC the sole distributor of electric power in Armenia’s territory. The company is also the only exporter of the electricity to Georgia and Nagorno-Karabakh Republic.