March 5, 2020 / 2:35 PM / 24 days ago

Glencore Moscow oil desk executives quit for their own start-up - sources

MOSCOW, March 4 (Reuters) - Two veteran managers from global trading house Glencore’s energy desk in Moscow have left with around a dozen other staff to focus on their own start-up, four industry sources told Reuters on Thursday.

Vladimir Scherbak and Svetlana Astakhova quit the firm after decades of service during which they oversaw the trading of hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil from Russia’s top producer Rosneft and others.

Scherbak and Astakhova will head up a new firm called Alliance Industry Group, the sources said. Glencore, which holds a minority stake in Rosneft, declined to comment.

Part of Glencore’s energy team based in Moscow is staying with the group, Reuters sources said. The trading firm’s grain and metal business in Russia was also unaffected by the move.

A source at a Russian oil company which is working with Glencore said the energy desk changes are unlikely to affect the trading house’s business in Russia, the world’s second biggest oil exporter after Saudi Arabia.

“We rarely work with Glencore in Moscow. All business issues are managed by their London office with whom we normally communicate,” the source said.

STAYING AT THE SAME ADDRESS

The sources did not say why Scherbak and Astakhova had decided to leave, but one said the departure was by ‘mutual consent’ with Glencore.

According to the SPARK Interfax companies database, Scherbak and Astakhova co-own Alliance Industry Group with a third stakeholder, Anton Ostaltsev. It is registered in Moscow at the same address as Glencore’s Moscow office on Novinsky boulevard.

Ostaltsev is the group’s chief executive, the SPARK data showed. Astakhova and Ostaltsev each hold a 25% stake in the group, which was established last November, while Scherbak holds the remaining 50%.

The source said the Alliance Industry Group plans to focus on equipment supply as well as energy resources trading in Russia. Russia, and Rosneft in particular, are limited in foreign energy equipment supplies after western sanctions.

Alliance Industry Group has three units, Alliance Projects, Alliance Gas Processing and Severoproekt-Service, according to SPARK Interfax.

Severoproekt-service is “an integrated engineering company that operates and provides maintenance for power plants based on GE Jenbacher gas engines and Cummins diesel generators”, its website said.

It is the only company in the group with contact details. Neither Alliance Industry Group nor any of its subsidiaries were available for a comment.

Scherbak, who has been working with Glencore in Moscow since 1998, sits on the boards of a number of oil companies from Russian tycoon Mikhail Gutseriyev’s Safmar group, according to public data.

Glencore is a long-standing partner of Russneft, whose oil and oil products it trades and in which it holds a minority stake.

Scherbak remains a Russneft board member from Glencore, Russneft said in reply to a Reuters request for comment. (Reporting by Olga Yagova and Gleb Gorodyankin; additional reporting by Ludmila Zaramenskikh in MOSCOW and Dmitry Zhdannikov in LONDON; Editing by Katya Golubkova and Jan Harvey)

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