EU


In June, Creon Capital established a branch in Düsseldorf. The new Creon mainstay is located directly on the Rhine. Its team is to bundle the investment activities in Germany.  For this purpose, Creon Capital has boarded four new leading employees with extensive know-how and a widespread network in the European industries. The mission of the Düsseldorf team is to develop M&A as well as investment projects in Germany and to internationalize them on the Eurasian level.

Josef Rentmeister, the new Co-Chairman of Creon Capital, gained over 20 years of leadership experience at IBM, Cisco, and T-Systems with responsibility for over €1 billion budget and over 2,000 employees. Through his investments in German small and medium-sized enterprises (SME), he brings 15 years of experience in investment management and business development.

“I am thrilled to join the Creon team, combining the outstanding expertise and network of Creon with my global experiences. Together with my team I am looking forward to contribute to bridge the gap between western businesses and eastern suppliers and investors”, said Josef Rentmeister.

Jan Wuppermann, Director, has more than 20 years of experience in corporate finance, restructuring and auditing, amongst others as Head of Internal Audit North- and Latin America of a stock-listed packaging corporation and in the establishment of a bank’s M&A department. Jan Wuppermann completed his vocational training in banking and has a master’s degree in International Business from Maastricht University and a Master of Laws (LL.M.) from the University of Münster. Jan Wuppermann is a founder and Managing Partner of Operando Partners, where he is responsible for marketing/communications, investors, and the origination of transactions. He is also a shareholder of Wuppermann AG, a family-owned metal processing business founded in 1872, which has an annual revenue of around 500 million euros.

Peter Folle, Director Transactions, who gained over 20 years of experience as a PE fund manager. As a trained banker and holding degrees in business administration and economics, he has developed the fund and investment controlling of Triginta Capital since 2001 and is Managing Partner since 2003, responsible for more than 100 transactions. Besides that, he has extensive experience in the areas of investment controlling and restructuring SME, specialized on mechanical engineering, internet, IT as well as health and social services.

Jan Philip Neuhaus, Director, holds a Bachelor and Master of Science in Business Administration with a major in Accounting and Finance. His main focus is the execution and support of M&A transactions in all phases. In addition, he supported the investment process for the company’s own portfolio with regard to investments in start-ups and SMEs.



Relations between Moscow and the EU have hit their lowest level in decades. But feedstock industry expert Fares Kilzie says the bloc’s current energy diversification attempts will not leave Russian firms stranded.

There’s hardly anyone who knows more about the German petrochemical industry’s enormous need for resources than Russian entrepreneur Fares Kilzie. In the early 1990s, he was based in Germany helping companies such as Bayer and Süd-Chemie secure petrochemicals from Russia.

After 2001, Kilzie went back to Russia and eventually founded the Creon consultancy helping European companies understand the Russian energy market. 2016 saw the establishment of the Creon Energy Fund in Luxembourg, which provides guidance for investing safely in Russia.

DW met up with Fares Kilzie in Berlin to talk about the future of Russian energy supplies to Germany and the European Union as a whole.

DW: Talking about EU-Russian business relations these days, also in the energy and feedstocks sectors, is a bit like walking through a minefield, following Russia’s falling out of grace with the West over its perceived role in the Ukraine conflict, would you agree?

Fares Kilzie: In my business life, relations between Russia and the EU have never been worse than they are today. But I have to add that we experience this bad state of relations mainly in Brussels, and we don’t see it in Berlin. Russia and Germany are still having a very constructive dialogue even while relations between Russia and the EU in general are in a bad state. Dialogue between Moscow and Berlin is strong, despite heated arguments being exchanged sometimes.

Russia has been a very reliable supplier of hydrocarbons for Germany all along, concerning both natural gas and oil. As for oil, Rosneft has been one of the major oil suppliers in Germany, and Gazprom the main provider of gas — maybe Novatek will become a third important player with LNG [liquefied natural gas].

I gather from your answer that you don’t believe the good times for Russian oil and gas suppliers to the EU are coming to an end. But don’t increased attempts in Berlin and Brussels to diversify supplies and thus reduce dependence on Russian sources tell a different tale, especially when it comes to natural gas deliveries?

When it comes to debates about reducing the amount of pipeline gas coming to Germany from Russia, I was one of those who expected that to happen even before the crisis in relations with the West started. I was in contact with German feedstock buyers, and they were telling me as early as the 1990s that they would have to diversify their supplies. So I know this approach very well. I believe it’s a good one, because risks have to be spread when it comes to feedstocks.

Many analysts insist Germany — and other recipients in the EU — could have easily done without the controversial Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. What’s your take on this?

Touching on the current Nord Stream 2 controversy, Russia in this project is only assuming the role of a technical partner, meaning it lays the 1,200 kilometers of the pipeline to Germany and supplies the gas, but any decisions beyond that have to come from Germany. In my eyes, the project is very important for the chemical industry in Germany. Parts of the industry are already migrating from Germany as there are at times not enough feedstocks for the industry. In order to create new products and jobs, you also need large amounts of gas at a reliable price — and you need it now, not in five or 10 years. Russia is offering this opportunity of getting more by 2020.

But isn’t it rather risky for public joint stock company Gazprom to keep focusing almost exclusively on its pipeline business?

In Russia, I’ve been know as a critic of Gazprom for exactly that. Many see Gazprom as the holy cow of Russia, generating a big share of the country’s income, so that seems to make it untouchable. There have been a lot of changes in Gazprom’s management structure over the past two months and there’s more to come. We’ve always said in the Russian media that Gazprom is inefficient, not using the latest technology and moving very slowly toward the gas refining business.

I never shy away from the fact that this sort of miscalculation could lead to trouble in the future. Only time will show how it will fare by focusing only on its pipeline business and not expanding its activities to LNG. But we’ll only have an answer to this in five or six years from now. My personal opinion is that they made the wrong decision also by trying to convince the Russian president that the shale gas story in the US would be ending soon — it’s not ending. On the contrary, it’s taking geopolitics to another level.

In the second quarter we expect to have equilibrium between the price for pipeline gas and that for liquefied natural gas, which is very good for the market.

According to the European Commission, the EU’s gas demand is around 480 billion cubic meters and is projected to remain stable in the coming few years before going down as a result of the bloc’s climate protection policies and the increased use of renewables. So, aren’t today’s investments in gas deliveries shortsighted anyway?

Let’s face it, gas is one of the most environmentally friendly products that we have at the moment, with relatively low CO2 emissions. It’s very easy to handle. We’ll see a lot more electrical cars in the future; we’ll see more wind farms and solar energy facilities. Right now, though, the German feedstock problem is that neither wind nor solar can replace the physical hydrocarbon to produce ethylene for example.

As soon as there are reliable pipeline supplies, the chemical industry will start investing. BASF (Wintershall/DEA) and others are trying to secure the feedstocks as soon as possible so as not to lose out in the competition with Asian or even US producers. Several million jobs are affected, directly or indirectly, as we’re talking about construction chemicals, paint chemicals, chemicals for the auto industry and so on. Half of any ordinary car is made of petrochemical components (polycarbonate, polyethylene etc.), so you have a wide range of products that are needed here.

Private Russian energy company Novatek is looking to establish a foothold in Europe including Germany where it aims to open a regasification facility in Rostock by 2022 – and this against the background of the German government having promised the US administration it would build two LNG terminals of its own to also receive American gas …

Novatek is also looking at the Spanish market, the Italian and Moroccan markets, and it’s looking to build regasification facilities in order to supply gas to customers, who have no access to pipeline gas. Rostock, with its long-term trade ties with St. Petersburg, can play a major role for the German economy. It’s a gateway to Germany. To have a regasification facility there, coupled with reliable gas supplies from Novatek to serve the German market is a nonpolitical thing. It’s only a small-scale regasification unit.

The Novatek activities in Germany can’t really be seen as a threat to any other LNG supplier because of the low volumes to be involved.

For 25 years, Fares Kilzie has been helping European companies doing or wanting to do business in Russia. He’s the founder of Creon Group, an independent investment and management association focusing on the energy and chemical industries in Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). The Creon Energy Fund invests in Russia together with European technology partners.

The interview was conducted by Hardy Graupner.

Link: https://www.dw.com/en/expert-russia-to-remain-crucial-feedstock-supplier-despite-spat-with-brussels/a-48213356



Former EU Commission President Romano Prodi is firmly committed to strengthening relations between the European and the Eurasian Union. As “political relations are currently stagnating”, Prodi said, the economic integration of those two regions must be improved even more. The EU politician, who also served as Prime Minister of Italy before and after his term as Commission Chief (1999-2004), is seeking to bring together the network of economic areas between the Atlantic and the Pacific.

The “First Connecting Eurasia Dialogue” should be established as a platform to connect businesspeople from Europe and Eurasia. The event took place on 15 March in Brussels, Creon Capital supports this dialogue as a main sponsor. More than 200 guests from Eurasian and European Union countries accepted the invitation to the Cercle Royal Gaulois in Brussels.

Creon Capital Chairman Fares Kilzie emphasized: “The Eurasian Economic Union is not a political initiative, and this should be demonstrated on this event to decision-makers in Brussels.” Too often, the region was reduced to political conflicts between the EU and Russia. “This politicization is a mistake”, says Kilzie: “Eurasia is a big market for European companies and vice versa. Economic relations in both directions must be promoted by politicians instead of being disturbed.”

The participants and panelists from Eurasia outnumbered the number of EU representatives. Kilzie criticized this: “This is more of a monologue, as representatives from Eurasia are much stronger represented in Brussels.” Similarly argued Mark Gyetvay, vice-president of Russian LNG manufacturer Novatek: “We need to work together and move from business to business to business.”

Both the Fund’s initiator Creon Group and the managing company Creon Capital support several initiatives to strengthen trade between East and West. Only two weeks ago, the Luxembourg fund management company joined a German initiative promoting free trade between Vladivostok and Lisbon. Russia’s minister of economy Maksim Oreshkin attended the signing ceremony during a Russian-German conference on bilateral economic relations.

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Participants of a panel discussion on business in Eurasia (from the right): Pierroberto Folgiero(CEO Maire Tecnimont), Fares Kilzie (Chairman Creon Capital), Mark A. Gyetvay (Deputy Chairman of the Novatek Management Board), Sergey Ivanov (CEO Alrosa), Koen Berden(Executive Director for International Affairs, European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations), moderator Philippe Pégorier(President Alstom Russia, Member of the Board, Association of European Businesses).
Participants of a panel discussion on business in Eurasia (from the right): Pierroberto Folgiero(CEO Maire Tecnimont), Fares Kilzie (Chairman Creon Capital), Mark A. Gyetvay (Deputy Chairman of the Novatek Management Board), Sergey Ivanov (CEO Alrosa), Koen Berden(Executive Director for International Affairs, European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations), moderator Philippe Pégorier(President Alstom Russia, Member of the Board, Association of European Businesses).