Okhta Seeks More Incentives

Okhta Seeks More Incentives

Published: June 17, 2011 (Issue # 1661)

Gazprom Neft is seeking incentives from the St. Petersburg government to cover the costs of relocating its personnel from Moscow.

The possible savings could be equal to expenditure on the construction of the planned Okhta Center itself.

Gazprom Neft will receive tax benefits from the St. Petersburg administration and will be able to claim compensation for all the expenses involved in relocating the company’s head office from Moscow, the company’s general director, Alexander Dyukov, said at the annual shareholders’ meeting last week. He didn’t give any details and declined to estimate the volume of the moving costs. The costs will be dependent on the number of employees willing to move to St. Petersburg, explained Dyukov.

One Gazprom Neft manager told Vedomosti that the St. Petersburg authorities are preparing a draft law according to which firms investing more than 15 billion rubles ($536 million) in the city’s economy will be able to receive tax benefits for five years. Gazprom Neft officials expect the bill to be approved by the end of the year, he added. The governor’s press office declined to comment. A spokesperson for Deputy Governor Mikhail Oseyevsky neither confirmed nor denied this information. The city’s Legislative Assembly has not yet received any proposals on this matter, said the head of the legislation committee Vitaly Milonov.

The decision to move Gazprom Neft’s corporate center to St. Petersburg was made by the shareholders in 2006, when the company was reregistered in St. Petersburg.

The move to the Quattro Corti business center on Pochtamptskaya Ulitsa is to be completed by 2012. Of 1,500 employees in the head office in Moscow, only 1,000 are expected to move to St. Petersburg.

Of that number, about 500 will return to Moscow during the course of the first year, estimates Boris Rokhin, the head of Ward Howell office in St. Petersburg. A partner at Top-Contact, Artur Kamilov, estimates Gazprom’s expenses on additional compensation for those employees moving to be about $40 million to $50 million.

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