Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman warns that the transition from gas to renewables will be “dangerous and irresponsible”, partly accusing the industry of being undervalued in the recent energy crisis. Claims that there is a possibility.
Friedman said he would invest more in alternative energy to reduce the impact of oil and gas on carbon in the empire.
However, he said, the recent rise in prices reflects a lack of investment by companies in light of “great public pressure on decarbonization,” which has given investors and banks “a gas business to break ties with oil.” “.
He predicted that gas would be important for the “decades” energy mix.
“The transition is a very complex and very difficult process,” he told the Financial Times in an interview at Mayfair headquarters. “For the time being, there is no viable alternative to living without gas.”
Friedman is one of the wealthiest businessmen in Russia, but spends half of his time in the UK. His holding company, Letter One, has invested more than $ 10 billion and will announce its latest deal with a UK-based recycling business next week.
The company’s pre-tax profit in 2021 is expected to exceed $ 5 billion.
Fridman has an extensive stake in Russia through Alfa Group, which was co-founded in 1991, but used the $ 14 billion raised by selling the stake in oil company TNK-BP to Rosneft to London in 2013. Established Letter One with our partner.
LetterOne’s largest business is the energy sector, chaired by former BP boss John Browne, but the investment group has an extensive portfolio that spans telecommunications, energy and retail.
Friedman’s long-term strategy puts his company in conflict with other investors in this sector.
He suggested a future controversy over the future of Wintershall Dea, Europe’s largest independent gas and oil company, where LetterOne owns one-third alongside its majority shareholder BASF.
Friedman noted the pressure that German companies faced from investors and activists over investing in gas producers, saying there was a “difference in approach” between Letter One and BASF. BASF wants to sell its shares in its 127-year-old German business through an IPO, but LetterOne wants to “build a long-term strategy.”
“For us, it’s [long-term] The mission to keep the business in the right direction. It’s a little different for BASF, “he added.
LetterOne is unlikely to sell out on an IPO at this time and will not block the process, but may support the sale of some of the company to private equity buyers.
Fridman wants to support the company’s highly profitable gas business, along with investments in renewable energy businesses and technologies that “mitigate their negative impact on the environment.”
He states: “Let’s combine these two approaches.”
In the UK, LetterOne is investing Up to £ 1bn in fiber broadband A regional infrastructure company called Upp and the healthcare sector owns retailer Holland & Barrett, and Fridman said he has a new service-oriented business model alongside products.
He said the general environment of the oligarchs in Britain was “deteriorated by the conflict between Russia and the West”, but “at the personal level, it was a bit friendly as people distinguished the common. It became. ” Russian oligarchs are personally labeled with us. ”
Still, he said, there is “a kind of competitive disadvantage as a Russian” that requires “additional efforts to convince people that we are doing the right thing.”
The British government added, “I had a lot of information to distinguish between the good and the bad.” .. .. It’s important to find a way to distinguish between politics and someone like me wanting to be a normal business citizen. .. .. We strive to be as transparent as possible. “
The millionaire said he would not give his five children his fortune and explained that it was “dangerous” and important to inherit as much money as they went their own way. bottom.
Unlike other Russian oligarchs, he is not a “charming person” with a “talent” to spend money. “I don’t have a yacht. I don’t have an airplane. I have a house in London. I have a house in Moscow.”
Additional report by David Sheppard in London and Max Seddon in Moscow
Russian tycoon Mikhail Fridman warns that a quick switch from gas is “irresponsible”
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