Heiti Hääl’s business partner opens his cards18.05.2012, 10:58
“I want to leave a visible trace in the Estonian economy,” says Igor Bidilo, business partner of Estonian oil businessman Heiti Hääl, writes Äripäev.
Hääl is known for his ambitious projects, whether these are the plans to bild an LNG terminal in Paldiski that would cost hundreds of millions of euros or his acquisition of half of Kiviõli Keemiatööstus, one of Estonia’s largest chemical industries.
What is relatively little known about Hääl is his relationship with Russian businessmen, brothers Bidilos.
This is surprising since the role of Bidilos in Hääl’s various businesses is impressive.
Bidilos came to the limelighjt in 2998 when Alexela Oil expanded its share capital and sold a share to Baltic International Trading, its long-term business partner.
Baltic International Trading had revenues of 11.2 billion kroons or about 720 million euros in 2008. The company continues strongly as its revenues in 2010 totalled 652 million euros.
The company now owns half of Alexela network of retail stations.
Bidilos are also investing in Balti Gaas that is planning to build an LNG terminal in Paldiski.
The project is estimated to cost up to 400 million euros and Bidilos owns half of the project.
They have also have of Alexela Energia that acquired a 50-percent holding in Kiviõli Keemiatööstus earlier this year.
In spite of such prominent investments, Bidilos have manage to keep low profile and few Estonians have ever seen them.
However, he offers that Äripäev can meet Igor Bidilo and ask him questions directly.
Cypriot firm and Gazprom
Formally, the owner of BIT is Cind Holding Limited that is registered in Cyprus.
An enquiry in Cyprus commercial registry shows that Cind Holding itself belongs to two other Cypriot companies, Potassa Holdings and Totalserve Consultants.
Interestingly, Potassa Holdings has had common business interests with Gazprom. Namely, it was involved in a corruption scandal where a Hungarian oil and gas company MOL reportedly bribed the former prime minister of Croatia 10 million dollar for the right to have preferential treatment in privatization of the Croatian state oil company.
Hääl admits that he has been asked questions by the Estonian national security agency KAPO regarding his plans to develop a major a LNG terminal in Estonia.
KAPO was interested whether this gas terminal project could be a national security risk.
Explaining the Gazprom affair, Bidilo says that Totalserve Consultants and Potassa Hldings are service providers that set up companies and can be used for keeping holdings.
Both companies have probably set up tens of thousands of companies and therefore there is nothing strange if one of such companies were used by Gazprom.
Bidilo says that being registered in Cyprus is normal because Russia and Cyprus have signed a treaty to avoid double taxation.
Bidilo explains that he himself has a Kazakhstan passport, but right now lives in Austria and part of the time spends in Estonia. He has a fixed-term residence permit in Estonia.
Bidilo says that he owns the majority in Baltic International Trading and other shareholders are his brother Jegveni and Aleksander Grigorjev.
Speaking of Gazprom, Bidilo says that he is sorry that his company has so little business with Gazprom.
“We would love to do business with Gazprom. It’s a huge organization. Everybody want it. Find me someone who is not happy with providing services to Gazprom,” he laughs.
Bidilo says that he has been doing business with Heiti Hääl for ten years, three of which through Alexela.
“We don’t want to be invisible. We want to do something positive, invest in Estonia. We want to leave a real trace in Estonia and its economy,” says Bidilo.