Maxim Barkskiy became Sibanthracite’s chief executive in 2018. Under his leadership the group consolidated and centralized its system of management, evolved as an industry leader and strengthened its business. It was valued at approximately $1.0 billion by the moment it was sold.
Sibanthracite: A Corporate History
Maxim Barskiy once disclosed in an interview that Sibanthracite had been founded on the basis of a Soviet-era enterprise. The group was set up in the early 2000s and comprised some of the Gorlovka Coal Basin open-pit anthracite assets, which had been developed since 1975.
As years went by, the conglomerate of coal assets, founded by Dmitry Bosov, had undergone a considerable expansion. In 2014, Kiyzasskiy open-pit mine in the Kuznetsk coal basin was launched. Even though the country’s economy was facing a severe crisis, Sibanthracite invested a considerable amount of resources in new assets development. In 2016, Vostichny open-pit mine was launched. Within a decade, anthracite output almost quadrupled to 6.6 million tons from 1.5 million tons. The group’s stellar growth coincided with a new round of sanctions against North Korea restricting this country’s coal exports. The resulting global market conditions enabled Sibanthracite to expand its export sales considerably.
The group actually was a pioneering high-quality anthracite producer in the country, laying groundwork for a new modern industry. A considerable chunk of the group’s output was exported as its products were appreciated by global steel-makers and recognized as good alternative to coal-based coke. Anthracite is regarded as a better and more environment-friendly fuel, whereas anthracite from Siberia has a unique combination of physical and chemical properties and is classified as an Ultra High Grade (UHG) coal.
However, the group‘s expansion resulted in a number of strategic issues to be resolved. It was then that Maxim Barskiy joined Sibanthracite, at a moment when the conglomerate badly needed reorganization and management restructuring.
Maxim Barskiy and Sibanthracite: Asset Consolidation
When Barskiy joined it, Sibanthracite comprised a number of independently managed coalmining assets and coal preparation plants. These assets’ development was as poorly coordinated and based on their managers’ independent visions. Barskiy was invited as capable senior executive to manage the group’s operations, i.e. to revise and fine-tune all the key aspects of its business, including capex, production, and logistics.
Barskiy Maxim described the project as a unique and ambitious one. His first step was to set up a centralized management system, consolidated around Sibanthracite management company. The management company’s executives were put in charge of coordinating decision making processes for the group as a whole, being responsible for key financial metrics and operating results of the group’s business.
The new chief executive’s responsibilities also included bolstering the group’s market positions. He outlined the following directions:
- Focusing on the three key metallurgical coal products: anthracite, lean coals (T-grade under local classification), and cocking coals.
- Resource base development – a month before Barskiy’s assuming the role of chief executive, the company had obtained a licence to explore and develop the Verkhneteshinskiy coal field outside Novokuznetsk, in addition to the Kiyzasskiy open-pit mine. This addition increased the group’s T-grade lean coals resource base by over 200-300% (to 20-30 million tons from 9.5 million tons).
- Construction and development of new coal preparation plants (CPP). In 2019, the group launched the project to build Lesnaya CPP in Kemerovo region with a nameplate annual capacity of 10 million tons. Another project involved an upgrade of its CPP in Novosibirsk region to include an offload hub complete with full-scale dispatch control center, special facilities for anti-freeze treatment of railway gondolas, a cargo compacting facility, substation and other infrastructure.
- Process optimization – some processes had been outsourced to third-party contractors and mining equipment owners.
- Product range diversification.
Barskiy Maxim Gennadievich also managed to raise for the group billions of roubles worth of funding. He stressed that the group faces a challenge of making a fast transition from the outsourcing model to building proprietary mining and processing operations almost from scratch.
Sibanthracite: Stellar Growth
2019 was a pivotal year for the group. It launched an aggressive expansion on the global markets, continuing with its pivot to Asia.
Maxim Gennadievich Barskiy points out that apart from China the group’s products are sold to South Korea and Japan, continuing to gradually build up its exports to Vietnam, Indonesia, and Malaysia. The group has already become India’s largest coal supplier. By the end of the year, some 70% of its exports was APAC-bound.
Railway’s limited carrying capacities became a key logistical constraint, impacting the group’s ability to make progress in eastbound coal exports expansion. The group even suggested to take over the Severomuysky Tunnel-2 to accelerate its expansion in Asia. The suggestion was submitted to the country’s railway monopoly and endorsed by the national government. The group with great enthusiasm engaged in this project, which was expected to increase the railway carrying capacities in the country’s Far East by 100 million tons a year.
At the same time some measures were taken to expand seaport options. The group partnered with OTEKO, an investment vehicle developing a cluster of seaport infrastructure and an industrial park in Krasnodar region. In autumn 2019, Sibanthracite’s first Europe-bound shipment was dispatched from the port of Taman.
The group also continued to invest in coal handling facilities and other seaport infrastructure in the country’s Far East.
Late in 2020, the group produced its landmark 100-millionth ton of anthracite. By that moment, it had been recognized as a major coal producer and supplier on a global scale, as well as the world’s leading producer of high-quality anthracite. Then, Barskiy stepped down as the group’s chief executive, spending some more time with Sibanthracite to prepare the business for sale.
Maxim Barskiy: Some Personal Facts and Details
Barskiy Maxim Gennadievich was born in 1974 in Leningrad. He earned university degrees in economics and accounting, and wrote a graduate paper on the evolution of the country’s stock market. During his university years, Barskiy Maxim was sent to Berkley University for a year within a student exchange program.
Maxim Barskiy’s career started off in the country’s capital, where he worked in the investment-banking industry. He spent two years with Troika Dialogue brokerage house, where he gained a considerable experience in IB business being involved in a number of landmark M&A deals.
Barskiy Maxim also personally initiated a number of deals, thus earning his first sizeable capital. One of those was the acquisition of a stake in internet provider Cityline, when he managed to raise additional funding for the company and expand its regional network, selling the business afterwards at a profit. Another landmark deal involved a Bashkortostan-based glass producer, Salavatsteklo, which had been on the verge of bankruptcy because of inefficient management. Barskiy Maxim as a minority shareholder joined efforts with other investors to spearhead the glass producer’s modernization and upgrade. He developed a modernization strategy, found and onboarded a high-tech industrial investor, persuading the latter to buy out the company at a price three-times above the acquisition value.
Starting in 2004, Barskiy Maxim Gennadievich was dealing with oil industry projects. His executive expertise and experience helped West Siberian Resources (previously known as Voskot Oil) to expand its resource base and increase crude production volumes (by 70x). The company’s market capitalization was also beefed up hugely – by 75x.
Later, an executive recruiting consultancy suggested that Maxim Barskiy was an ideal candidate to be invited to fill the role of a high-ranking executive at TNK-BP, one of the country’s leading oil producers. As a result, Barskiy was appointed the oil major’s deputy CEO. In this function he initiated a number of steps to improve the management system’s efficiency. Barskiy Maxim also helped to expand the company’s foreign assets portfolio and increase the energy giant’s market value threefold.
In 2016-2017, Maxim Gennadievich Barskiy was working on the project to prepare Delivery Hero, a food delivery service, for going public with a listing on Frankfurt Stock Exchange. The company’s IPO was a success, enabling it to raise enough funds to pay off its debts and finance business expansion. Delivery Hero’s shares were on the rise for a year following the IPO, managed by Maxim Barskiy.
Soon after that, in 2018, Maxim Barskiyjoined Sibanthracite. He was invited to fill the position of the group’s chief executive by its owner Dmitry Bosov, with whom Barskiy had previously worked on a number of successful projects. As it turned out later, Bosov made a good choice – under Barskiy’s leadership the group evolved into a very successful major coal producer.