An Initial Spark

The Manager Training Programme in Germany decisively changed Michail Bojarkin’s professional life. The Managing Director of Lesnaja Niva, a company that has primarily specialised in animal husbandry and agriculture to date, discovered new business areas and found German partner companies who could offer the right know-how to support his plans. The highlights included a German-Russian joint venture for particle boards, wood pellet production, and tractor technology.

Uljanowsk / Staraja Majna. Michail Bojarkin has frequently travelled to Germany since 2011. “The interactive training and many company visits have provided me with invaluable practical experience and an opportunity to find the right business partners,” the entrepreneur reflects on his training as part of the MP. The local Uljanowsk government offered support for his biggest project – the construction of a manufacturing plant for the innovative production of MDF and OSB. With a total volume of 180 million euros, Lesnaja Niva founded a joint venture with VanBetra GmbH from Bavaria. In autumn 2013, the project received the BMWi Innovation Prize at the 15th anniversary celebration of the MP with Russia. The first sheets of derived timber product are scheduled to be delivered at the end of 2014.

During company visits in Germany, Bojarkin looked at agriculture machines made by Weidemann GmbH in Hessen and was very impressed. He immediately recognised how useful and versatile the manoeuvrable tractors and telehandlers would be in agriculture and forestry and assumed responsibility for sales of Weidemann technology in his region. The first four vehicles are already showing off their skills on the fields of Volga. A meeting with the Weidemann Board of Directors is planned for summer 2014 in Staraja Majna, where the construction of a manufacturing line for Weidemann tractors in Russia is on the agenda.

A wood pellet production line from Germany came online in November 2013 – two years after the supply and installation contract with Amandus Kahl GmbH from Schleswig-Holstein was signed. The plant will produce 40,000 tons of pellets annually from the waste left over from wood processing. The 1.6 million euro investment will quickly redeem itself – the ecologically friendly method of generating heat is popular in Russia and in Europe. “Unlike in Russia, generating plants in Germany also burn pellets. This opens up a whole range of new possibilities”, Bojarkin notes. But it also throws up unexpected hurdles. 10,000 tons of pellets delivered to Hungary, Italy and Germany by the end of May had to take the more expensive route through Belarus due to the tense political situation. The company is working very hard to realise a less expensive transportation route by ship.

Lesnaja Niva, initially more of a small firm, created around 900 jobs through new business areas and restructuring and grew into a medium-sized model company in just two years. “Since I completed training at the Wirtschaftsakademie Schleswig-Holstein, I have sent four employees to the Presidential Programme, one of whom went to Germany in autumn 2013. This has not only expanded their horizons; it was also an opportunity to learn about the advantages of German corporate culture and how to work like a European. Training in Germany accounts for 80 percent of the entire programme’s success”, is Bojarkin’s positive summation.