MiddleSex Holdings is a diversified international company, operating in primary industries (steel, non-ferrous metals and energy), financial service and agriculture. Additionally, the company has trade investment in gold and insurance businesses. It is principally engaged in the emerging economies of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and Central Asian republics.
The History and Profile of MiddleSex plc.
MiddleSex was founded in 1984, and originally was a small Welsh goldmining company called Ferromet that Mainly could be described as defunct company with a loss about 12m by the year 1991. At that stage, the shares of the company were about .25p in the in the wake of the disastrous career. Then in 1992 Phil Edmonds, the former English cricketer, bought this company and renamed it after at his countryside. But the company didnt involve into its present shape until 1993, when Masoud Alikhani joined the board and reversed his Russian businesses into the company. Since then, MiddleSex has remained committed to Russia and other CIS countries.
Over the last four years, MiddleSex has built up an impressive asset portfolio, developed extensive experience and knowledge of Russian industry and its Business etiquette and expanded its network of proven contacts. MiddleSex has secured itself a fundamental and strategic role in a number of core industries and is now focusing on five business streams:
- Steel (and direct reduced iron);
- Non-ferrous metals (nickel);
- Financial services ;
- Energy; and
In addition, it has trade investment in gold and insurance.
(Each of this these streams in particular Im going to describe later on in my research paper. )
1996 proved to be a significant year for MiddleSex, in which the company experienced strong growth. This is particularly evident in the metals businesses, with steel being the fastest growing activity. Moreover, it has become apparent that nickel and the agribusiness could take on a more significant role in the MiddleSexs future. Other noteworthy event include the companys appointment to GAZPROM, the worlds largest natural gas producer, under which MiddleSex will assist GAZPROM with its financial strategy. (In short words : GAZPROM is considering going ahead with an innovative financial deal whose first stage will involve issuing a Eurobond. MiddleSex - together with Interfin Services, a Russian trade finance house that is also involved in capital markets - will advise GAZPROM on dealing the financiers and on strategies for fundraising. But, again, Im going to explain in more details later on how this alliance was built and what particularly this alliance means for MiddleSex, because I think that this is the very important stage of the company).
Success of every company lies in its people.
Since 1993, the main driving force behind the company has been its Chief Executive, Masoud Alikhani. Born in Iran and educated at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel, Mr. Alikhanis work experience spans from a kibbutz in Israel to agronomy in Iran and from chemicals(the US chemicals, Du Pont) to securities business (Prudential-Bache). Alikhani was one of the first to recognize the enormous potential of Russia and other CIS countries. He had been trading there through his private businesses and had a wide network of contacts since 1988.
Alikhanis plan appeared to be ambitious at first. From a small London base he aimed to create a group specializing in trading and finance across a number of industries in the former Russian republics. He saw a big opportunity to provide development finance, western management skills and reliable sources of raw material to newly privatized countries. In October 1993, Alikhani and six Russian contacts put £370,000 into MiddleSex. Other investors came up with another £250,000. As well as the equity, Alikhani undertook to put enough trading through MiddleSex to earn it £1 million gross profit within. Masoud Alikhani and Phil Edmonds earlier had an agreement, once £ 1 million in the bank, Edmonds would let Alikhani turn MiddleSex into his own vehicle. Under the terms of Alikhanis first deal, MiddleSex supplied raw materials to a Tadjikistan smelter and then exported final goods to the West. This arrangement soon turned to be very profitable and Alikhani began haunting for new ventures.
At that time Alikhani understood that the company had changed its image completely, and had gone to a much higher lever, so it desperately needed a well known person with a great huge worldwide experience. Ant that was the time when Edmonds stood down from the chairmanship and Lord Owen turned up. A former foreign secretary and long-time European Union peace negotiator in the troubled Balkans .Also has a deep understanding of the mentality of the Slavic people and how to conduct business with them.
In 1996 another well known person in business has joint the company. Fahrad Moshiri, formerly with Ernst & Young and Deloitte & Touche turned up as Managing director in MiddleSex. He was mainly responsible for securing the US$300m contract with OEMK (Oskol Elektro-Metallurgical Kombinat ) and was the key in building the relationship with GAZPROM.
There many more people in the company whose personal worldwide experience has influenced the growth of the company, but it might take me hundreds of pages to describe the significant work they have for the company. I have mentioned, in my opinion, three most important and most affective people in MiddleSex. Once again, I have to say that the success of any company, specially with a case of MiddleSex, lies in its people and how these people effectively manage to bring their past experience into the company.
Steel . The flagship operation.
At the beginning of 1996, MiddleSex entered into a trading agreement with OEMK, one of the most modern and profitable steel mills in Russia, for the export of up to US$300m of steel products per annum. As trading was unfolding successfully, MiddleSex acquired a 7.9% interest in OEMK. Additionally, its 40 % owned investment vehicle, Interfin, holds another 6.6% of OEMK, which gives MiddleSex a further 2.6% indirect interest.
In august 1996, MiddleSex acquired DRI (IOM) Ltd. whose sole asset was the exclusive rights to export 40,000 metric tons per month (±10%) of thermally passivated direct reduced iron (DRI) pellets produced by OEMK. Direct iron reduction technology is becoming increasingly popular as it significantly improves composition, reduces impurity contents and consequently enhances steel quality. DRI pellets are used as replacement for scrap material n modern electric arc furnace steel mills. Hence, in addition to steel products, MiddleSex also controls the exports of OEMKs DRI pellets. DRI trading is carried out through MiddleSexs 100% owned subsidiary, Oskmet (DRI) Limited.
In late 1996, MiddleSex acquired WolffSteel Ltd., an established international steel trading business, with a world-wide distribution network of clients.
As a result, MiddleSex currently records steel profits from three sources : OEMK export contacts, DRI exports contacts and additional WolffSteel trading :
CompanyGross Profit (£000)199619971998 (est)1999 (est)OEMK export3697600082508750Oskmet (DRI)961027102411027Wolff Steel242120012001200Total4035822710,47710977
The OEMK-MiddleSex relationship extends beyond the trading agreement. MiddleSex monitors the day to day running of the mill, the companys management spends considerable time at the mill while two OEMK representatives monitor steel trading in London on permanent basis. In addition, OEMK has a 20 % interest in MiddleSexs financial services arm, Interfin. Overall, according to what I have observed, I believe that this relationship is very strong.
Due to increasing environmental concerns and the subsequent growth of the electric arc furnace (EAF) steel-making facilities, direct iron reduction technology is becoming more attractive. Originally, all DRI exports from OEMK were handled by DRI (IOM) Ltd. In August 1996 MiddleSex bought 100% of DRI Ltd. For a maximum consideration of 2.8m and inherited a ten year exclusive world wide distribution.
DRI EXPORTS BY REGION (000 metric tonnes)Region19931994199519961997 1998 (Est)European Union218.0296.7221.1161.4225.0215.0CIS-52.196.368.872.595.0USA5.0--37.142.557.5Australia33.026.00.444.328.535.0Total331.0402.1429.2367.1453.5477.5
Since it gained the control over DRI exports, MiddleSex has managed to significantly expand the companys customer base. Currently, OEMKs DRI pellets feed steel mills in USA, Spain, Germany, Italy and Mexico.
According to my observation I believe that a vertical integration of MiddleSexs steel activities is possible and would be highly beneficial for both partners. Assuming that MiddleSex takes an equity interest in Lebedinsky GOK, the raw material supplier (such as iron ore), and increases its equity interest in OEMK, MiddleSex would have an economic exposure to entire steel operation, from the raw material (Lebedisky), through the steel mill(OEMK) to trading (MiddleSex/WolffSteel)
Aluminium was one of the original businesses which Masoud Alikhani injected into MiddleSex when he joined in 1993. The aluminium business was built upon Mr. Alikhanis trading relationship with Tadaz, the third largest aluminum smelter in the world, located in Tajikistan. Hi