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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Tagansky Says It's the Target of a Takeover

An unknown party is using backhanded legal tactics in an attempt to take over Moscow's Tagansky meat processing factory, Tagansky's general director said Thursday.

Vladimir Kozlov said the handful of top managers who control 58 percent of the factory through a trust called Tampholding were informed on Jan. 14 that their majority stake had been frozen by a judge in the Volgograd region.

"I feel like a person who has been robbed on the highway -- not by a gun, but with the help of an imperfect legal system," Kozlov said.

The problem at Tagansky is a loophole in the joint stock company law. Under the law, shares in limited partnerships like Tagansky cannot be sold to nonshareholders, but nothing is said about shares being given away as gifts.

Kozlov said the party trying to take over the factory convinced one of the members of Tampholding to sign over her 2.6 percent stake in December to someone named Nikolai Kolosov.

Then four more members of the 16-member trust agreed to hand over their shares, Kozlov said.

The meat factory in eastern Moscow posted profits last year of about 100 million rubles ($3.14 million).

A Canadian meat exporter that has supplied the factory for the past 10 years is worried by the apparent takeover attempt. It will halt shipments if Tampholding, which it considers the rightful owner, loses control, Kozlov told The Moscow Times.

The Volgograd regional court, which froze the majority stake on a technicality, has also named Kolosov as the founder and general director of the factory.

Court officials could not be immediately reached for comment.

Kozlov said he found the decision baffling.

"He is absolutely unknown to us or to anyone in the industry," Kozlov said, adding he suspected that Kolosov was a front-man for the would-be owner.

Musheg Mami-konyan, president of Russia's Meat Union, said he believed the would-be owner was not a competitor but "someone who earned crazy money on illegal business" wanting to invest it in a profitable business.

"This is a good factory, with no debts and good products," he said.

The Canadian Business Association is watching the case closely.

"It is a shame to see the rule of law so flagrantly violated," association president Nathan Hunt said.

"This case will not only have a negative impact on investor confidence," he said. "It will also decrease bilateral trade between Canada and Russia because of the loss of a reliable trading partner."

Kozlov said he has appealed to the Moscow city government, which owns a 25 percent stake in the factory.

Tagansky employs about 1,000 people and produces 60 tons of meat a day.