Andrey Igorevich Melnichenko (Андрей Игоревич Мельниченко) comes in at number 97 on the Forbes Billionaires List and 9th on the Forbes list of the wealthiest Russians. He is an industrialist with businesses in the fields of coal and fertilisers, and a net worth of over $9 billion. Melnichenko owns one of the world’s most expensive mega yachts, and is well known as a jet-setter.
Andrey Melnichenko was born in Gomel, Belarus in 1972. He attended the Specialized Education and Research Center; a boarding school run by Lomonosov Moscow State University. A number of these boarding schools were established to promote advanced and gifted students and ensure their entry into top universities in Russia. Melnichenko won a place to study Physics at Moscow State University though he transferred to Plekhanov Russian University of Economics where he graduated as a Bachelor of Arts/Science with a major in Finance Credit. His early career was in currency exchange; he ran a number of exchange booths in Moscow, but quickly moved into banking and finance where his true talents and eventual wealth would come from. In 1993 Melnichenko co-founded MDM Bank and was Chair of the Management Board until 1997, when he bought out his partner in MDM Bank and became the only shareholder of the institution.
Banking, Finance and Industry
In 2001, Melnichenko diversified the bank’s interests by forming the MDM Group, which was made up of mainly industrial assets, significantly EuroChem, a minerals and chemical company, and SUEK, a Siberia-based coal and energy company. He also founded the Pipe and Metallurgic Company (TMK) with fellow Russian billionaire Dmitry Pumpyansky. The company went on to become the largest exporter of steel pipes in Russia. In 2004, he sold his shares when the company went public on the London Stock Exchange (LSE). He also started to sell his shares in MDM Bank in a series of sales to Sergei Popov, his partner at MDM Group, so he could focus solely on his assets in mining and chemicals.
By 2007 Andrey Melnichenko sold off all his stakes in MDM Group. In the same year he bought 7% of K+S, a German potash fertilizer company, and in 2008, his holdings had increased to around 15%. He is also on the Board of Directors of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RSPP), and in 2013, bought out his partner’s shares in SUEK and SGC. Melnichenko serves as the Chairman of SUEK and as Chairman of the Strategy Committee at EuroChem Group AG.
Personal Life – Lifestyles of the Richest Russians
Described by Tatler Magazine as the ‘King of Bling’ in 2014, Melnichenko purchased a number of properties in London, including an apartment on Berkley Square and Harewood Estate near Ascot. He also owns property in New York and Antibes. He married Aleksandra Nikolic, a Serbian model and pop star, in 2005. Perhaps his greatest passion though is his yacht, named “A”. The mega yacht cost $300 million, was designed by Philippe Starck and costs over $300,000 every time it needs refueling. Total running costs for “A” are around $20 million per annum.
Both Andrey and his wife Aleksandra are regulars on the exclusive social scene in Europe and the U.S., and are friends with a number of celebrities.