Posted 30 ноября 2022, 17:44

Published 30 ноября 2022, 17:44

Modified 24 декабря 2022, 22:38

Updated 24 декабря 2022, 22:38

The road construction sector sent an SOS signal to the Ministry of Construction

30 ноября 2022, 17:44
Road construction companies cannot cope with the credit load, but "draw" profits in their financial statements in order to refinance and not go bankrupt.

Yekaterina Maksimova

At the end of 2021, the revenue of Russian road construction enterprises amounted to 1.299 trillion rubles (1.161 trillion for the construction of roads and highways, 137.4 billion rubles for the construction of bridges and tunnels). Net profit exceeded 10.3 billion rubles.

On November 30, such official data was announced by the General Director of the ASDOR Association, Yuri Agafonov, at the International Conference "Development of Innovative Technologies and Materials in the Road Sector", which is taking place these days in St. Petersburg. He voiced and ... He suggested not to believe the numbers.

“And we remember what happened in 2021. Bitumen has risen in price by 50%, metal by almost 100%. Official data do not reflect the real state of affairs. At the end of 2021, there is no profit. I asked market participants - where did such profit figures come from. And they explained: if we do not show it, then not a single bank will give us a loan, and then we will collapse. At the expense of loans, we move from one object to another,” said Yuri Agafonov.

Yuriy Agafonov also brought the statistics of the debt load of road builders. Thus, at the end of last year, debt on loans and borrowings exceeded 309.7 billion rubles. And if at the beginning of the year banks were lending to road builders at a rate of 7.31%, then by December, loans were issued at 9.32% per annum. The estimated amount of interest payments on loans in 2021 was 27 billion.

The conclusions of the head of ASDOR are in sync with the forecasts of experts from the Higher School of Economics, who claimed that road construction companies will end 2021 with a total loss of 26 billion rubles, and by 2025 the cash gap will more than double. And almost half of the companies (more than 90 structures) from the list of the largest are in the zone of "uncertainty according to the bankruptcy forecasting model".

Experts explained the reasons for this trend by a critical gap between the real price of materials and the one indicated by the customers of state contracts. Plus low profitability and overregulation of the industry. The net profit margin in 2021 was only 0.80%.

And road firms have already begun to leave the market en masse. The most striking example of only the last days of November of this year is the announcement of the beginning of the bankruptcy procedure for enterprises included in the State Corporation "Permatodor". The companies were unable to pay their creditors. Future bankrupts were engaged in road construction and repair and were considered very large players in the market of state contracts in the Perm Territory.

The representative of the Ministry of Transport - the director of the department of state policy in the field of road infrastructure Andrey Shilov - assured the participants of the conference that for the last 2-3 years the department has been doing everything "to make it easier to build." Some examination procedures are being simplified, since 2022, Shilov recalled, public procurement participants began to receive up to 90% of the contract price in advance. This year, 88 billion rubles were allocated to compensate for the growing costs of state-owned construction projects, and executors of contracts for major repairs will receive another 10 billion.

Innovations that don't exist

Representatives of FKU "Tsentrdorazvitiya" (a subordinate institution of the Federal Road Agency), responsible for the development of innovations, also tried to inspire the conference participants with the idea that someday it will be easier, cheaper and faster to build and patch roads. PKU promises to help all those who know how to create and think, but "do not know how to move their elbows in a bureaucratic environment".

And then a simple clarifying question was asked. “Do you have an algorithm: how to present an advanced idea, assess whether it is really an innovation, test the technology and then implement it”, - asked Konstantin Shitikov, a representative of JSC Apatit, who could tell a lot about the use of phosphogypsum for road construction.

"There is simply no such algorithm", - Alexey Yambrosimov, head of the FKU "Tsentrdorrazvitiya" department, admitted from the podium.

“But isn’t your unit supposed to be doing just that since 2018? It can start reforming the entire road industry so that it becomes clear to all government agencies what is beneficial to the state. Everything gets stuck, we go in circles. One of our technologies entered the registry, and then was removed. And nowhere to go And I also want the state to help finance tests, support in matters of approbation and direct implementation of new technologies,” Konstantin Shitikov again took the floor.

From the audience, the defender of innovations Yambrosimov was asked another unpleasant question:

“We have been talking about nothing for 15 minutes now. For four years now, a strategy for the development of innovative activities in the field of road infrastructure has been created. During this time, any company can already go bankrupt! And every year, federal agencies at the end of the year require a list of innovations already implemented. And how can this order be carried out at all, even if you do not understand whether this is an innovation or not. And just say when? When exactly will a clear, understandable mechanism work?

Simply put, high officials from federal structures annually and in all seriousness typeset a mythical list of implemented innovations. At the same time, as the representative of FKU “Tsentrdorrazvitiya” was forced to admit publicly today, no one understands what it is about. And in the road-innovative Potemkin village, there are simply no evaluation methods that can be used to officially determine whether this is innovation or not. That's why you can't meet today in the regional road tenders items related to the use of new road construction technologies.

An example of only one underestimated innovation was shared by the head of ICM Glass Kaluga LLC (manufacturer of fractional foam glass, a former asset of Rosnano) Maxim Nikulin. Foam glass for road construction, Nikulin noted, has been used by Finland, Norway and Sweden for more than 30 years, and in Russia they have not even heard of such a technology. The pool of ICM Glass Kaluga clients so far includes only large business structures (Gazprom's Lakhta Center in St. Petersburg), but not road construction companies.

The manufacturer of road equipment Kominvest-AKMT also asked for help from a representative of the Ministry of Transport, which invested about 200 million rubles in the creation of Russia's largest production of mobile asphalt concrete plants (ABZ). Asphalt import substitution also faced difficulties. And as the representative of the company noted, "and we could close up to 70% of the market for the production of asphalt concrete plants".

Andrei Shilov, who represented the Ministry of Transport of the Russian Federation at the conference, noted that he had not been in this position for so long. But he assured market participants: “We see what needs to be done, what questions need to be answered. And we very much hope that this work will not go to waste”.

The international conference "Development of innovative technologies and materials in the road sector" will last until December 1. Representatives of Glavgosexpertiza, FDA Rosavtodor and many others will speak to market participants.