For the average person, 40 million francs is a pretty big chunk of money. For Viktor Vekselberg (65) they are peanuts. The US business magazine “Forbes” estimates the fortune of the Russian oligarch, who lives in Switzerland, at more than five billion. Other estimates even assume up to eight billion Swiss francs.
But back to the 40 million: That’s how much Vekselberg has lost with its holdings in Swiss companies since the outbreak of the Ukraine war, according to a calculation by the Handelszeitung. He holds large blocks of shares in the two industrial companies Sulzer and Oerlikon. The two companies are now worth one percent less on the stock exchange than when the war broke out. A book loss of 20 million for Vekselberg – negligible.
The shares of the Lucerne steel group Swiss Steel are even worth 20 percent less this year than they were when the war broke out. According to the “Handelszeitung”, this also corresponds to a loss of 20 million in Vekselberg’s books.
Vekselberg becomes a burden for Swiss companies
While the minus for Vekselberg seems negligible, it has long since become a burden for the Swiss companies concerned. He has been on a US sanctions list since 2018 because of his proximity to the Kremlin. As a result, he had to reduce his stake in the corporations to less than 50 percent.
With the outbreak of the Ukraine war, the western states are now taking tougher action against Vekselberg. Just a few days ago, Poland imposed further sanctions on Sulzer and the Baar-based industrial company Medimix – also in the hands of Vekselberg. The two companies had to temporarily stop their business in Poland.
The Zurich real estate company Züblin is also partly in the hands of Vekselberg. There, as with Oerlikon and Swiss Steel, one should tremble before further effects of the sanctions.
Yacht fixed in Mallorca
And Vekselberg himself is not left untouched by the sanctions, even if he could pay the CHF 40 million book loss from petty cash: due to its proximity to the Kremlin, Vekselberg has not only fallen out of favor in the West, but also has to relinquish a large part of its previous one give up a life of luxury.
His yacht Tango has been blocked in Mallorca. His two private jets are stuck in the Caribbean and Kazakhstan. Together, jets and yachts are worth more than CHF 200 million. From a financial point of view, these are also peanuts for Vekselberg. But peanuts that slowly add up to quite a pile of money. (sfa)