Must be something in the water……

Many readers will not have a clue what or who IDS Group Ukraine is.

IDS Group Ukraine is part of IDS Borjomi International, owned in part by influential shareholders from France, the UK and USA amongst others - and The Netherlands where IDS Borjomi International is headquartered.

IDS Group Ukraine is most well know for the production of  mineral water from its two production plants in Myrhorod and Morshyn.

Despite persistent media rumour that the major shareholding of IDS Group Ukraine is held by my almost ever absent neighbour Boris Berezovsky, that is actually not true.  It’s not the first time, or the last, that the Ukrainian media will get it completely and utterly wrong.

The major shareholder of IDS Group Ukraine was in fact the late Arkady “Badri” Patarkatsishvili, and now by default his surviving family, who as the name suggests hails from Georgia.  He was indeed an associate of my ever-absent neighbour Mr Berezovsky, but Mr Berezovsky has never had any shareholding in IDS Group Ukraine, a fact that Borjomi International will confirm if you bother to ask - Please take note Ukrainian media!

Anyway, it appears that IDS Group Ukraine is currently subject to something akin to what is known here as a “raider attack”.  I say “akin” as traditionally “raider attacks” in Ukraine not only involve nefarious court rulings allowing said “raiders” to send in large numbers of hired thugs to throw out existing employees from premises and barricade themselves in - whilst either court action occurs to try to reverse the previously nefarious court orders - or shareholders “negotiate” a solution.

In this case however, there are local court orders allowing the local tax authorities into the operating plants and homes of senior executives.  No hired thugs as is traditionally the case.  No barricading of the production facilities either.

Quite whom is behind this “raid” is unclear - if it is indeed a “raid” in the traditional Ukrainian sense - with the family of Patarkatsishvili still holding the majority of shares in IDS Group Ukraine, and IDS Group Ukraine is ultimately part of IDS Borjomi International.

In recent years, such “raids”, if that is what it is, with regards to entities with foreign owners have been rather unsuccessful when appeals have moved up the judicial food chain.  The Netherlands and France in particular, have managed quite successfully to defend their corporate interests in Ukraine through the Ukrainian judicial system - and both those nations have an interest in IDS Borjomi International and thus IDS Group Ukraine by continuation.

The outcome of all this, given recent history, is likely to be that the “raiders” will be unsuccessful - but ultimately the “raiders” will also be identified - and that is what will be the really interesting part to this entire incident.  Who is trying to muscle the Patarkatsishvili heirs, or are the  Patarkatsishvili heirs trying to muscle IDS Borjomi International?

Who wants IDS Group Ukraine so badly that they are prepared to ignore recent legal outcomes in Ukraine where foreigners have been involved and put themselves in the spotlight?

Is it something they put in the (mineral) water here?