Vostok New Ventures Ltd (Vostok New Ventures), formerly Vostok Nafta Investment Ltd, is an investment company with the business concept of using experience, expertise and a widespread network to identify and invest in assets with considerable potential for value appreciation, with a focus on companies with network effects.
About Vostok New Ventures
Business Concept and Investment Strategy
Vostok New Ventures Ltd (Vostok Nafta) is an investment company with the business concept of using experience, expertise and a widespread network to identify and invest in assets with considerable potential for value appreciation, with a focus on companies with network effects.
Vostok New Ventures intends to create value through professional investing activities, building on a structured process for continuous analysis of both current and prospective acquisitions.
Our aim is to undertake investments that our shareholders are limited or unable to pursue themselves. This implies managing risks associated with low transparency and weak corporate governance as well as illiquidity. An active investment philosophy is deemed necessary to achieve the appropriate level of risk in relation to the return potential.
The foundation for the investment activities is fundamental analysis of primarily unlisted companies. In markets and sectors where Vostok New Ventures has particular knowledge and expertise, such as in Russia and online classifieds, the return requirement may sometimes be lower while in sectors where we do not have the same experience of investing, the requirement may be higher. The latter is intended to compensate for an increased amount of risk.
One way of managing corporate governance risks in the portfolio companies is to pursue an active ownership policy. Active ownership is important in all markets, but especially in emerging markets where corporate governance risks can take on additional dimensions to that of more developed markets. Over the years, Vostok New Ventures has built up a considerable ability for implementing an active ownership in emerging markets. This can take many different forms, of which board representation is one.
1996-2007 (“Old Vostok Nafta”)
Vostok Nafta was founded with the business concept of making both portfolio and direct investments in the former Soviet Union (FSU). In the late autumn of 1999, the first direct investment was made, in the form of the acquisition of 80 percent of the oil company Eastern Transnational Company (ETC) in the Tomsk region of western Siberia. This investment in Tomsk was spun off in December 2000 to Vostok Nafta’s shareholders, in the form of the company Vostok Oil which in conjunction was admitted to trading on Nya Marknaden, now First North, at the Stockholm Stock Exchange. Following the spinoff of Vostok Oil, Vostok Nafta’s management worked on redeveloping and redefining Vostok Nafta’s direction and the company evolved to be a pure investment company operating in the oil and gas sector in the former Soviet Union. During 2002 and 2003 the investments in the power sector were concentrated to a separately quoted company by the name Vostok Energo. The revaluation of the Russian power sector during this period led to a divestment of the power sector portfolio and a merger between Vostok Energo’s and Vostok Nafta’s portfolios.
Since the establishment of Vostok Nafta, Gazprom had constituted a substantial part of the portfolio always exceeding 25 percent of the portfolio value, with the exception of 1998. As a consequence of Vostok Nafta’s strategy from 2001 of aiming to obtain a holding in excess of 1 percent of the shares in Gazprom, Gazprom’s share of the company’s portfolio had gradually increased to a point at which, from 2005 until July 2007 represented approximately 90 percent of the portfolio’s value. Following the abolishment of the ring fence and Gazprom’s development as a company the inherent risk in the share had fallen. In parallel with the development in Gazprom, the non-Gazprom part of the portfolio evolved as investments in Russian companies became possible and the Russian market matured. The main investments had been carried out in Russia and neighbouring countries within the coal, agriculture, cement, metals and mining sectors. The characteristics of the companies Vostok Nafta has invested in is in many respects similar to that of Gazprom when Vostok Nafta first made its investment in Gazprom.
2007- (“New Vostok Nafta”)
As a result of the portfolio’s development, and also as part of an ambition to fully utilise the portfolio holdings’ potential, a restructuring was carried out in 2007. In the restructuring, the non-Gazprom related assets were lifted out of “Old Vostok Nafta”, which changed name to Vostok Gas Ltd. The newly incorporated Vostok Nafta Holding Investment Ltd took over the name Vostok Nafta Investment Ltd. The Company was floated on NASDAQ OMX together with Vostok Gas Ltd. The restructuring is described in further detail in the prospectus which was presented in connection with the listing.
Since the establishment of “New Vostok Nafta”, the company has gone from investing according to the macroeconomic themes set out, which are believed to be the most essential concerning the future developments in Russia and the CIS: “Oil and Energy”, “Commodities”, “Infrastructure”, “Agriculture” and “Consumer Services” to investing in companies with network effects in Russia and other markets. Investments are made in primarly unlisted companies.