STEPPE Agroholding is among Russia's largest agricultural players, with a diversified assets portfolio in fruit growing, crop and dairy farming. The company also develops logistics and trades in grain, sugar and grocery.
STEPPE is one of the largest owners of agricultural land in Russia and national leader in terms of operating efficiency, asset quality. The company has deep agricultural expertise in crop and dairy farming, and also operating as an agricultural trader. This business boosts the company's competitiveness as a whole, while benefiting from access to a commodity base and own logistical facilities.
Agroholding’s agricultural assets are located in the regions most favourable in terms of climate, crop yields and logistics: the Krasnodar region, the Stavropol region, the Rostov region. STEPPE owns 50% of RZ Agro, one of the major producers of grain and oil crops in southern Russia jointly controlled by Sistema and the Louis-Dreyfus family.
Underlying STEPPE's business model are the principles of vertical integration and diversification across agricultural segments that hold the most potential. The company's development strategy relies on the further increase of the land bank, aggressive advancement in the trading segment, development of corporate logistics infrastructure and construction of new dairy farms.
In 2020, revenue went up 15.2%, to RUB 32.8 bln, primarily driven by crop farming and grain trading. The growth is a combined product of an efficient selling strategy and rising grain prices, along with performance enhancements in dairy farming (which in turn stem from an increase in the number of lactating cows and a growth in per-cow yield) and growing revenue from sugar & grocery trading.
The 2020 OIBDA was up 122.5% year-on-year, primarily on the back of operational enhancements at new land assets, a high-efficiency trading strategy, and a growth in selling prices, along with stepped-up performance in the international trading segment and a supply chains optimisation.
Steppe AgroHolding is among Russia’s top 10 grain exporters. The company’s total exports in the 2019–2020 crop year exceeded 1.1 mln tonnes, and total sales in calendar year 2020 reached 1.2 tonnes..
The company’s main focus within the segment has been on enhancing operations and rolling out a high-efficiency trading strategy. Strong performance in the international trading segment combined with a GAFTA accreditation as a first-rate grain trader and partnerships with leading global traders pave the way for the evolution into a global grain trader with extended presence in the international markets..
Sugar & grocery trading allows Steppe to unlock considerable synergies with the crop farming business while also ramping up the output of prepackaged branded produce.
In 2020, sales in the segment totalled 330 thsd tonnes, up 7% (or 23 thsd tonnes) year-on-year. The aptly chosen “time arbitrage” strategy delivered a significant growth across financial performance parameters.
In 2020, Steppe increased the area of owned farmland to 565 thsd ha (up from 416 thsd ha a year earlier), having formed a new production cluster in the north of the Rostov region and acquired more land in the Stavropol region.Despite the unseasonably harsh agro-climatic conditions of 2020, the company leveraged innovations so as to avoid harvest losses.
Dairy farming is Steppe’s second largest line of business that greatly contributes to both diversification and vertical integration. As of the end of 2020, the company had 6,587 lactating cows, up 14% year-on-year. The total milk yield in 2020 was up 25% year-on-year, to 71.4 thsd tonnes.
The company further increased focus on productivity and technology advancements at dairy farms. This included the construction of a megafarm in the Krasnodar region, the future home of some 3 thsd cows scheduled for launch in the first half of 2021, and the upgrades of another megafarm in the Krasnodar region (with some 9 thsd cows) purchased in 2020.