Companies of the richest Russians allocate hundreds of millions of rubles to fight COVID-19. What do they spend this money on?
The largest number of victims of the coronavirus is in Moscow and St. Petersburg. The epidemic started later in the regions and there are fewer people affected, but this does not mean that it is less dangerous. A later start simply means that local authorities and doctors can be better prepared. They are helped by Forbes list members whose assets are located in Russian cities and towns, from Kaliningrad to the Far East. We asked several major companies to tell us what they are doing to prevent mass diseases in the territories where they operate.
Allocated to fight COVID-19: 10.5 billion rubles
What will the money be spent on: creating new hospital beds, buying equipment and personal protective equipment
Vladimir Potanin, President of Norilsk Nickel, stated that “Norilsk Nickel has come to this crisis with a sufficient margin of safety to ensure maximum possible protection of our employees and all residents of the towns where the company’s enterprises are located, to support small and medium-sized businesses and to give a hand to local administrations.
By mid April, Norilsk Nickel had allocated over 10.5 billion rubles for measures to combat the new coronavirus epidemic and ensure social stability in the regions of operation. In April, the company planned to spend an additional 3 billion rubles for these purposes. With these funds:
Norilsk, the company’s main city of operations, more than doubled the number of beds in the infectious diseases department of the city hospital from 45 to 100. According to Nornickel, in case of an unfavorable scenario of an epidemic, their number may be promptly increased to 1,000.
On the Kola Peninsula, the 120-bed Kola corporate preventorium was allocated for observation (monitoring of possible cases and taking measures to contain the epidemic). In Monchegorsk, 40 additional adult and 20 children’s infectious disease beds were created, in Pechenga District, 30 additional beds were created, and an observation room for 20 beds was prepared. On the basis of Monchegorsk Hospital, an infectious disease department for the treatment of patients with coronavirus infection was created for 54 patients and later expanded to 62 beds by reassigning other departments.
The allocated funds were also used to purchase medical equipment and personal protective equipment (PPE):
“Nornickel purchased more than a hundred ventilators, thousands of test systems for both laboratory detection of infection and rapid testing, over 500 thermal imagers, as well as defibrillators, inhalers, x-ray machines.
We have already sent masks (more than 1.2 million), goggles, respirators, protective gowns and other protective equipment to the regions, more than 3 million items of disinfectants. At the same time, diagnostic and re-profiling equipment for medical institutions and equipment for treatment of possible consequences of diseases, including for emergency care and resuscitation are being purchased. Two stationary and five mobile laboratories for infection detection in the Norilsk Industrial District and on the Kola Peninsula are being prepared for launch.
To support small and medium-sized businesses, Nornickel provided lease vacations for more than 100 companies-lessees of its facilities in Norilsk; Kola Mining and Metallurgical Company also provides similar benefits. Social entrepreneurs, participants of the company’s flagship charity project World of New Opportunities, who had previously received loans from Nornickel for social business development, were granted six-month loan vacations.
More than 200 employees of the Company participate in the charity event “Volunteers rush to help”. Volunteers of the Polar Division in Norilsk, with the help of Sunflower retail network, formed 986 food orders with medicines and clothes for families in need. They also teach the elderly how to pay their rent and utility bills online, order food, and make gauze bandages for at-risk residents and medics. Nornickel’s volunteers prepared more than 700 “Combine of Kindness” food kits for low-income and elderly residents.
State: $18,100 mln (#2 in Wealthiest Russians 2020)
Allocated for the fight against COVID-19: more than 1 billion rubles
What will the money be spent on: employee support, virus prevention, medical care, assistance to regions of presence
By mid-April the total expenditures of NLMK and the charity foundation Miloserdie (the foundation is funded by Vladimir Lisin, NLMK Group and related companies) on employee support, measures to minimize the risks of infection spread, and financing assistance to the Russian regions where the company operates, exceeded 1 billion rubles, the company said. About 500 million rubles of this amount was allocated to support the regions.
Funding is distributed depending on the scale of the company’s presence in Lipetsk, Belgorod, Kaluga, Sverdlovsk regions and Altai Krai:
In Lipetsk Region (the region where NLMK operates), the company donated about 100,000 masks and respirators for the region’s medical institutions and residents. In April NLMK plans to equip hospitals in the region with 35 ventilators, 3,500 antiepidemic suits, 50 oxygen concentrators, 20 bronchoscopes as well as medical beds and equipment for two PCR laboratories.
In Belgorod region (Stoilensky GOK’s region of presence), Stary Oskol donated ten units of equipment: ventilators, breathing equipment and bedside monitors to the Stary Oskol district hospital and helped the town to purchase masks, gloves and disinfectants for RUB 1.5 million. The Miloserdie Foundation donated 500 antiepidemic suits for Stary Oskol doctors.
In the Sverdlovsk Region (NLMK-Sort and VIZ-Stal’s presence region) more than RUR 3.5 million was allocated to purchase six cars for hospitals in Revda, Rezh and Berezovsky. We donated 2,500 masks for employees of law enforcement agencies.
In the Altai Territory (Altai-Koks region) the company and NLMK’s charity foundation Miloserdie donated over 20,000 protective masks to the Central City Hospital in Zarinsk.
State: $16,800 mln (#4 in Wealthiest Russians 2020)
Allocated to fight COVID-19: n/a
What will the money be spent on: payments to company employees
“We must interact effectively with the communities in which we live,” said Severstal Chairman Alexei Mordashov. – It is important to protect our neighbors in Cherepovets, Vorkuta, Olenegorsk, Kostomuksha, Yakovlev and other cities where we operate.” According to him, the company “should closely monitor the situation and get involved in solving those tasks in these towns that require our participation.
In the Vologda region (Cherepovets Steel Mill) in the city of Cherepovets, where every fourth able-bodied resident is an employee of the company, Severstal is implementing programs to support its personnel that have a positive effect on the situation in the city: in addition to the fact that in the economic situation worsened by the coronavirus epidemic the company did not cancel the earlier announced salary indexation, but in addition decided to pay each employee 10 000 rubles in aid (Alexey Mordashov, Chairman of the Board of Directors, gave an order for payment of about 50 rubles to the company).
The Way Home charitable foundation organized delivery of food and other essentials (humanitarian aid with donations) to 132 families with children.
Russian Steel division managers met with more than twenty local SMEs specializing in construction work to attract their employees to the Company’s investment projects in Cherepovets.
“Severstal” will compensate a part of losses of Cherepovets city motor transport company so that it could produce more buses on the routes, in which the residents could observe social distance.
In the Republic of Karelia an observatory is being organized in the sanatorium-preventorium “Gornyak”, which is being set up by the Interdistrict Hospital №1. By the middle of April Karelian Pellet (part of Severstal) handed over 720 half-masks, 350 overalls, 42 pieces of goggles. For the Druzhba Cultural and Sports Center, which is maintained by the combine, the company purchased sewing machines and set up a workshop for sewing protective masks with 20 employees. The capacity of the shop is over 800 masks a day. Karelsky Okatysh also produces a hand disinfectant solution. The Company donated 25 laptops to the Kostomuksha Education Committee to provide distance learning to schoolchildren from families in difficult circumstances.
In Murmansk region, Olcon (a subsidiary of Severstal) donated to the Olenegorsk Central Hospital 200 protective glasses, 60 suits, household appliances (kettles and microwave ovens), five inhalers, and prepared 20 beds at its health resort for an observatory. By mid-April, 68 laptops were being prepared for transfer to the educational committee of Olenegorsk in order to organize distance learning for schoolchildren from families in a difficult life situation.
In the Republic of Komi (Vorkutaugol operates here) medical organizations in Vorkuta received respirators and Tyvek 500 Expert coveralls.
In the Belgorod Region (YaGOK), the plant transferred 4 million rubles to the local health care system.