Early Life and Education
Filaret Galchev, born on May 25, 1963, in the village of Tarsoni (or possibly Gumbati), Georgia, emerged as a significant figure in the Russian business landscape. His childhood and teenage years remain largely unknown, but he was born into a family of Greek nationality. Galchev became the second heir in the family, with an older brother who currently holds a prominent position in the Eurocement company.
In 1986, Galchev ventured to the capital of the Soviet Union to pursue higher education at the Moscow Institute of Mining. Despite his financial difficulties, he worked part-time jobs, such as commandant of the institute’s dormitory and loader at the railway station. In 1991, he graduated with a degree in mining engineering and later earned his doctorate in sciences in the coal mining sector in 1996.
Career Beginnings and Entrepreneurship
Galchev’s successful completion of university marked the beginning of a remarkable career. In 1991, he became the chief expert at the Mining Institute named after Skochinsky. Subsequently, he held various positions, including the general director of the International Trade House and the sales department head at Rosugol until 1997.
During this period, the idea of starting his own business took root. In 1996, he founded Rosugolsbyt CJSC, and within a year, he took on the role of chairman of the board. In the year 2000, Filaret and Sergei Generalov acquired a controlling stake in the struggling Krasugol company, turning it into a profitable venture through effective management.
Brief Details of Rosugolsbyt CJSC
Rosugolsbyt CJSC was created by Filaret Galchev in 1996 and became a leading Russian coal enterprise.
Galchev, a Russian-Greek businessman, started the company and later sold his stake in 2002 to the MDM Group.
The move allowed him to shift his focus to the cement industry, where he saw growth potential. After selling his stake in Rosugolsbyt, Galchev bought shares in Sterncement and expanded his cement holdings, eventually creating the Eurocement Group, the largest cement producer in the CIS region.
Filaret Galchev was elected president of Rosuglesbyt in 2002, which was later restructured and transformed into Eurocement in 2004. This was the start of a rapidly expanding cement empire. He acquired Stern Cement with Georgy Krasnyansky, rescuing it from bankruptcy and incorporating several cement production plants into the emerging Eurocement holding.
Galchev expanded his cement business by purchasing factories from Inteko in 2005. Under Galchev’s leadership, the Eurocement Group had grown to 16 powerful cement enterprises by 2014, solidifying its dominance in the Russian market and gaining a significant international presence.
Brief about Eurocement Group
Eurocement Group is a global leader in the production of construction materials like cement, ready-mix concrete, and aggregates. With 19 strategically located plants in Russia, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan, it’s among the top five cement companies worldwide. Established in 2002 through the merger of Rosuglesbit and Shtern-cement, Eurocement swiftly became a key player in the Russian cement market.
The company boasts an impressive annual production capacity of 40 million tons of cement and 10 million cubic meters of concrete. They also have dedicated facilities for manufacturing concrete and reinforced concrete, as well as quarries for aggregate extraction.
Eurocement Group’s resource portfolio is substantial, including exploring reserves of 2.8 billion metric tons of carbonate rock and 1.8 billion metric tons of granite, highlighting its commitment to sustainable and robust raw material sourcing.
In the fiscal year 2023, Eurocement Group reported a substantial revenue of $6 million, showcasing its financial strength and market influence. Despite its global reach, the company maintains operational efficiency with a workforce of 147 employees.
Challenges and Losses
In 2016, Filaret Galchev faced a significant setback. This was because the demand for Eurocement Group’s products sharply declined. Coupled with other business challenges and substantial loans, his fortune hurtles by more than two-thirds. Even though he faced such a setback, Filaret Galchev maintained his position among the richest Russians.
Galchev Rejected Lafarge-Holcim Merger Terms
Russian businessman Filaret Galchev, the owner of a 10.8% stake in Switzerland’s Holcim through Eurocement Holdings AG, reportedly rejected the merger terms proposed between France’s Lafarge and Holcim. According to a report in Sonntagszeitung, Galchev, Holcim’s second-largest shareholder, deems the terms “unsatisfactory and half-baked,” as conveyed by an unnamed source described as a confidant of Galchev.
They devised a new share-swap ratio that was good for Holcim investors. They decided that Bruno Lafont, CEO of Lafarge, would not become CEO of the world’s largest cement company with 30 billion euros of sales annually. However, an alternative candidate for the leadership position has not yet been found.
Galchev said the revised share-swap ratio still did not give Holcim shareholders enough money. He raised how important it was to make a quick decision about who would lead the possible combined entity.
Political and Social Engagement
Filaret Galchev was not detached from politics. During his involvement in the coal business, he participated in a government group dealing with fuel supply to national facilities.
Apart from business, Filaret Galchev demonstrated involvement in social and cultural activities. His holdings, Eurocements, engaged in charitable programs and supported mass cultural events of national significance. Eurocements has been listed as a trustee of the Tretyakov Gallery for over a decade.
Personal Life and Recognition
Filaret Galchev has been discreet about his personal life. He is legally married to Elena Nikolaevna, and they have two children, daughter Alina, and son Ilya. Despite the demands of his business, Galchev never abandoned his scientific pursuits, contributing to academic circles with over two dozen scientific works.
His philanthropy extends to supporting talented youth, and his holdings are actively involved in charitable initiatives. Filaret Ilyich, with dual Russian and Greek citizenship, received numerous awards for his contributions to the state and society, both nationally and internationally.
Timeline of the career of Filaret Galchev
|Filaret Galchev was born on May 25 in the village of Tarsoni (or possibly Gumbati), Georgia, into a Greek family.
|Galchev moved to Moscow to pursue higher education at the Moscow Institute of Mining.
|He graduated from the Moscow Institute of Mining with a degree in mining engineering.
|Filaret Galchev earned a doctorate in sciences in the coal mining sector. He established Rosugolsbyt CJSC and became chairman of the board.
|He acquired a controlling stake in Krasugol, turning it into a profitable venture.
|Filaret sold his stake in Rosugolsbyt CJSC to MDM Group and shifted his focus to the cement industry. He became president of Eurocement.
|Eurocement was restructured and transformed, expanding rapidly. He acquired Stern Cement and other plants.
|He purchased cement factories from Inteko, further expanding Eurocement Group.
|Eurocement Group faced a significant setback due to declining demand and business challenges.
|Eurocement Group reported substantial revenue of $6 million.
Wealth Fluctuations and Rankings
Filaret Galchev‘s wealth fluctuated over the years, as evidenced by his rankings in Forbes’ list of the richest Russians:
|Net Worth (in billions)
Despite facing financial challenges, in 2018, Galchev’s capital was estimated at $1 billion, securing the 99th position in the Russian Forbes ranking.
Personal Interests and Hobbies
Beyond business and academia, Filaret Galchev has displayed personal interests, including ownership of the original Sapphire yacht. He also owns an exotic villa on the Peloponnese island. Despite his busy schedule, he finds time for reading books and has nurtured a childhood dream of space flight.
Sapphire Yacht details
The Sapphire yacht is a 74-meter (243-foot) superyacht built by Nobiskrug in 2011 and designed by Newcruise. It is owned by Filaret Galchev, the founder of Eurocement, and has a net worth of $1.4 billion. The yacht can accommodate 12 guests and 18 crew members, and it has a speed of 17 knots. The yacht’s price is reported to be $80 million, with an annual running cost of around $8 million.
The yacht features a swimming pool, a large beach club, a cinema, a helipad, and a unique lighting system that can create different atmospheres. It has been used exclusively privately during the past decade.
Legacy and Recognition
Filaret Galchev‘s legacy is intertwined with transforming the Russian cement industry, making the Eurocement Group a global leader. His contributions to academia, philanthropy, and the economy have earned him recognition and awards, solidifying his place among the prominent figures in Russian business and society.
Filaret Galchev is a Russian billionaire known for his involvement in the cement industry and his controversial business dealings.
There have been several controversies surrounding him:
- Cement Merger Deal: Galchev was involved in a dispute with Holcim, one of the world’s largest cement producers. He played a role in the company’s merger with Lafarge, which led to tensions and financial pressures. Upon announcing the deal, Galchev’s enthusiasm waned and he grew concerned about the dilution of his stock.
- Alleged Involvement in Dispute Resolution Scheme: In 2020, an investigation by the OCCRP revealed Galchev’s alleged involvement in a baffling dispute resolution arrangement. The scheme, allegedly orchestrated alongside a prominent representative of the Chechen leader, raised eyebrows and stirred scepticism. Investigators claim the controversial collaboration led Galchev down a lucrative path, leaving him with a staggering fortune
- Dual Citizenship: Galchev holds dual Greek-Russian citizenship, which has raised questions about his business dealings and allegiances.
Alleged Involvement in Dispute Resolution Scheme
April 16, 2015 – Cement giants Holcim and Lafarge experienced a surge in their share prices, fueled by optimism surrounding the potential approval of their merger. The catalyst was the nomination of Filaret Galchev, owner of Eurocement Holdings and Holcim’s second-largest stakeholder, for a board seat in the combined entity.
Holcim, based in Zurich, requires the support of two-thirds of its shareholders at the upcoming extraordinary general meeting (EGM) on May 8 to greenlight the merger. The fusion of the two companies would create an industry powerhouse with a pro-forma net profit of 1.579 billion euros ($1.68 billion) in 2014.
Eurocement Holdings, holding a 10.8% stake in Holcim, had expressed reservations about the merger terms. However, in a surprising move, the company announced the nomination of Filaret Galchev for a board position in the merged group, indicating a potential softening of resistance. Despite this, Eurocement did not explicitly signal acceptance of the current deal terms.
The news of Galchev’s nomination led to a 3.5% increase in Lafarge shares and a 2% rise in Holcim shares. Analysts at Bernstein noted that the market may interpret this development as a positive sign for the merger, as a “yes” vote from Eurocement could be a decisive factor.
Holcim is currently evaluating options for implementing the proposal. Notably, Galchev’s name was not initially included in the list of candidates for the post-merger board, raising speculation about his potential involvement.
Earlier this month, Holcim’s chairman had expressed openness to granting Galchev a board seat. However, sources from Eurocement indicated that while a board seat was of interest, Galchev sought further improvements to the exchange ratio of nine Holcim shares for 10 Lafarge shares.
Assuming shareholder approval, Holcim anticipates the majority of new shares in the combined company to be listed on the Zurich and Paris exchanges in mid-July 2015, with a second tranche to follow in early August, 2015.
Filaret Galchev, born in 1963 in Georgia, rose to prominence in the Russian business world. After struggling financially during his education at the Moscow Institute of Mining, he graduated in 1991 and later earned a doctorate. In 1996, he founded Rosugolsbyt CJSC and, by 2000, turned Krasugol into a profitable venture. In 2002, he sold Rosugolsbyt, entered the cement industry, and established the Eurocement Group, becoming its president in 2004.
Despite a setback in 2016, Eurocement Group became a global leader with 16 cement enterprises by 2014. Galchev’s wealth fluctuated, reaching $6 million in 2023. He faced controversies, including disputes with Holcim and alleged involvement in a dispute resolution scheme. Galchev, with dual citizenship, holds a net worth of $1 billion (2018) and is involved in philanthropy and academic contributions. His legacy lies in transforming the Russian cement industry and contributing to society.