Shipston was the founding venture investor in Renaissance Capital, Russia’s largest and leading investment company. The company was launched by a group of international investors tasked by Boris Yestsin with privatizing Russia. Operating in high-opportunity emerging markets, including Africa, Central and Eastern Europe, and Russia, the company generated $150 million in profits within three years. In 2005, Shipston exited the Russian market and sold its remaining interests back to Renaissance Capital.
Shipston and its partners invested $112 million into Sidanco when the oil production and refining company privatized in 1997, three years after it was founded. This represented a 47% stake in one of the country’s biggest oil companies, while Shipston’s Russian partner Interross controlled another 51%. To help the company more effectively engage one of the world’s largest oil and gas reserves, Shipston and Interross instituted western management and best practices at once updating technology to improve operating efficiencies. In 1997, Shipston sold 10% of its interest to BP for $571 million, and in 2001, Shipston made a full exit through a strategic sale of its interest to BP, which through a series of transactions created TNK-BP, Russia’s fourth largest oil company.
Saint Springs was founded in 1993 as a joint venture between California businessman John King and the Russian Orthodox Church. At the time, the company produced Russia’s only domestically bottled spring water. In 1997, Shipston was the lead investor in a venture-funding group that took a 31% interest in the company. Shipston and partners helped the company become more competitive and efficient by hiring western managers and instituting best practices and management techniques. By 2001, Saint Springs sold 108 million liters of bottled water, operated eighteen facilities, and employed over 1,000 individuals. Saint Springs was acquired by Nestle in 2002, by which time the company led the rapidly growing bottled water market in Russia.
National Timber Company
Shipston was the lead investor in a group that bought an 80% interest in National Timber Company. Based out of Moscow, National Timber harvests in northwestern Russia. Taking advantage of its vast timber reserves, the company produces round timber, laminated products, and glued beam houses. Shipston sold its interest in National Timber in 2006.
Sydney-based Quay Magnesium Ltd. was a manufacturer of magnesium alloys for automotives. In 2004, the company filed an initial public offering on the Australian Stock Market to fund the design, construction, and commissioning of a new plant in Nanjing, China. Shipston became a venture investor in the plant, which was designed to produce 30,000 tonne per year and bring the higher quality magnesium alloy demanded by the auto and aerospace industries to China. Shipston ended its investment in 2007.
The Balloch Group
A leading Chinese boutique investment bank, The Balloch Group was founded in 2001 by Nereida Flannery and Howard Balloch (former Canadian Ambassador to China). Focused on mergers and acquisitions, capital markets, and direct investment transactions, the company’s professionals operated out of Beijing, New York, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Wuhan, and Hangzhou. Shipston purchased the firm in 2007, and for the next two years it was ranked as China’s top boutique investment bank by China Venture. In 2010, Shipston sold The Balloch Group to Canaccord Financial Inc., upon which it became Canaccord Genuity Asia. The Balloch Group has completed or advised transactions worth more than $5.0 billion in M&A, joint ventures, and private placements, including equity and debt financings.
Magnesium Alloy, venture investor in magnesium alloy plant in Nanjing, China; IPO in 2005 on the ASX.