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By John Helmer, Moscow The sharp selloff of Mechel, the steel and coal group controlled by Igor Zyuzin, ought to demonstrate — if fresh proof were needed — that this is no longer a commercial operation in the normal sense of the term. Today Mechel is a nationalized enterprise kept solvent by five state banks [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Igor Zyuzin (right) is almost entirely dependent on the Russian government for the solvency of his Mechel steelmaking and coalmining group. With between $9 billion and $10 billion in debt, Zyuzin, who owns 65.49% of Mechel’s shares and controls the company as chairman of its board, is now the steel and [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Novolipetsk Metallurgical Combine (NLMK), owned by Vladimir Lisin, has done something that no Russian steelmaker is on record as doing in the current downturn for steel production, sales, and profits; nor in the downturns which have preceded – 1991-93, 1998-99 and 2008-09. It is negotiating with steelworkers and their unions before [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow The co-founder of the Mechel steelmaking and coal-mining group, Vladimir Iorikh, always said the over-confidence of partner Igor Zyuzin (parachutist) would get the company into trouble as big as this. So, rather than go down in flames himself when the crash he expected would come, Iorikh sold out to Zyuzin in [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow If wine were an investment, like company shares, gold, or real estate, then you would expect the Russian oligarchs to put their hands into this particular till. But hobby vineyards and French chateaux aside, there haven’t been many. Still, Vadim Varshavsky’s Croizet cognac (Charente) has not proved to be as ill-fated [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Novolipetsk Metallurgical Combine (NLMK) and its owner Vladimir Lisin have won a suppression order against Nikolai Maximov, former owner of the Maxi group of minimills and scrap processors, from the Higher Regional Court of Hamburg. A three-judge panel has imposed a permanent injunction against publication in the press of claims by [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Ekaterina Videman is the spokesman for Mechel and Mechel Mining, wealth accumulation vehicles controlled by Igor Zyuzin (left). What she and the company announce publicly is what they want public shareholders to think, and they do not respond readily to questions. This is allowable under the New York Stock Exchange rules [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow On February 1, 2010, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) released a report on operational results for the previous year, 2009, of the Mechel steel and mining group, Russia’s fifth-ranked steelmaker, which is also listed on the New York Stock Exchange. The group is owned by Igor Zyuzin (image, [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Not since the Biblical one – 5 (loaves) x 2 (fish) ÷ 5,000 (mouths) — has the division of assets proved to generate a value multiplier like the one Igor Zyuzin, owner of the Mechel steel and mining group, is trying to pull off. Or proved less convincing to the crowd [...]