Russian chemical industry fights coronavirus

The number of people infected with coronavirus in the world has exceeded 640 thousand people, in Russia 1.2 thousand cases have been registered. Business representatives have already begun to join in the fight against coronavirus, for example, the OCP Group decided to allocate about $ 310 million to the Special Fund created by order of King Mohammed VI of Morocco and undertook to renovate four hospitals in the province of Khouribga.

Members of the Russian Fertilizer Producers Association (RAPU), at their recent meeting supported the proposal of its President, PhosAgro CEO Andrey Guryev and created an industry campaign to join forces against the spread of the coronavirus epidemic.

The campaign will involve rollout of the effective preventive measures introduced at the enterprises of the industry, as well as the development of guidelines on actions in emergency epidemiological situations for management and personnel.

Fertilizer Daily has decided to find out what specific measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus are taken individually by Russian mineral fertilizer companies and their shareholders.

For this purpose, email requests were sent to the Head of Public Relations at Uralkali Andrey Sidorov, the Head of the EuroChem Public Relations Vladimir Torin, the Head of the PR Department of the Acron group Sergey Dorofeev and his colleagues Tatyana Smirnova and Anastasia Gromova, Press Secretary at Togliattiazot Dmitry Masalitin, Head of the Information Department of KuibyshevAzot Elena Kosova and her Deputy Konstantin Vadekhin, to Maria Konovalova, PR assistant of the Chairman of the Board of directors of Metafrax, to Oksana Kolyaskina, Head of Press Office of Shchekinoazot, to Anastasiya Galayde, Head of the Media Relations Department at Kemerovo Azot, etc.

Five companies, Uralkali, Acron, KuibyshevAzot and Metafrax, have replied with their comments.
“We are coordinating anti-epidemiological efforts with all enterprises in the industry, and have also intensified interactions with local authorities to mitigate the risks of the spread of the virus while maintaining the planned production targets.

Acron has cancelled overseas business trips; employees are advised not to travel abroad during vacations. Measures have been taken to tighten personal hygiene in eating areas, the number of internal meetings has been reduced, some of them have been converted to video conferencing, additional antiseptic dispensers and air disinfectants have been installed. Most of the staff in the Moscow office have been sent to work remotely, as commented by the Acron Group press service. All employees are notified that in case of feeling unwell, fever or other signs of the disease, they must urgently consult a doctor and follow the recommendations for the prevention of coronavirus posted on the websites of the Russian Ministry of Health and The Federal Service for Surveillance on Consumer Rights Protection and Human Wellbeing.

In all divisions and enterprises, personal hygiene measures are being enhanced, employees are being informed about preventive measures, and door handles, surfaces, all rooms and rooms are being deep cleaned.”

“The spread of COVID-19 coronavirus did not affect Uralkali’s production processes, the company took measures to mitigate the risk of the spread of the virus, but it works as usual. We are ready to satisfy the needs of customers in potash fertilizers, especially in the domestic market,” has confirmed the Uralkali press service. “ Generally, the coronavirus pandemic can have a significant impact on many industries and enterprises in a number of countries around the world. We hope that the impact of COVID-19 on the agricultural and distribution system for the supply of mineral fertilizers will be limited, as the agricultural industry is the main one providing security and stability for the well-being of countries.

Taking into account the speed of development of the situation and emergency measures taken by various states, financial and legislative bodies around the world, we have yet to evaluate the financial impact of COVID-19 on our business and the business of our subcontractors, distributors and end users of mineral fertilizers.”

“The health and safety of employees is a top priority for EuroChem Group. The management takes all necessary measures in order to preserve the health of employees and ensure the continuity of business processes,” Sergey Smirnov from the EuroChem Public Relations and Communications Department noted in his comments. “Our company employs more than 28 thousand people in 40 countries. Precautions and safety measures have been taken at all levels: from providing medical disposable respirator mask, disinfectants, temperature measurement to cancelling business trips and flights, both international and domestic, in-house trainings and events, 14-day quarantine for employees returning from foreign countries and/or having had such contacts.

Additionally, office employees of the company were sent to work from home with remote access to corporate resources. For employees directly involved in the production process, strict control measures have been expanded to ensure deep cleaning of all common areas.

Employees are strongly advised to reschedule or cancel vacations planned before April 30, with compensation for expenses already incurred.”

“KuibyshevAzot PJSC is taking all necessary measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus infection: business trips have been cancelled, meetings have been switched to video and telephone conferencing, entry and exit body temperature screening measures has been ensured using contact and non-contact infrared thermometres, germicidal lamps have been used to disinfect the rooms, company premises and vehicles have been deep cleaned, the enterprise medical service has switched to enhanced mode. An emergency operations center has been created. Workers who have visited countries where coronavirus infections have been reported are quarantined with 14-day health monitoring,” said Elena Kosova, Head of the Information Department of KuibyshevAzot. ”The main staff of the enterprise is the personnel performing works directly related to operation of the basic technological equipment. Options have been developed to create a personnel reserve in the event an employee is subject to quarantine or isolation for an extended period of time.

Part of the administrative and management personnel is forced to work remotely. All the measures taken, the purchase of devices, personal protective equipment (PPE), disinfectants are funded by the company.

PJSC KuibyshevAzot takes an active part in the work of the city emergency campaign to counteract the spread of coronavirus infection. The quarantine premises have been geared with the necessary PPE, and collaboration opportunities with the city administration are being considered. All social events at the enterprise facilities have been cancelled.”

Maria Konovalova, PR assistant of the Chairman of the Board of directors of Metafrax, did not provide detailed comments but sent a link to the company’s press release on measures taken to prevent coronavirus. “I suppose you will find most of the answers here,” the PR assistant advised.

Not only companies, but also their owners are running battles with coronavirus. It became known that the main shareholder of Norilsk Nickel Vladimir Potanin has allocated 1 billion rubles (approximately $ 13 million) of his personal funds to support non-profit organizations at the forefront of the spread of the infection.

However, none of the representatives of the press services of the chemical companies interviewed by Fertilizer Daily reported how much personal finance their shareholders have spent to prevent the coronavirus infection from spreading among the civil population of the cities where their companies’ offices and enterprises are located, and in other cities and regions of Russia.

Meanwhile, according to Forbes, in 2019 the fortune of Viacheslav Kantor, the owner of the Acron Group, was estimated at $ 3.8 billion, Sergei Makhlai, a shareholder of Togliattiazot, is listed at $ 900 million, and Andrey Melnichenko, who controls EuroChem, – at $ 13.8 billion, Seyfeddin Rustamov, a shareholder of Metafrax, is ranked with $ 700 million. The fortune of Uralkali shareholder Dmitry Mazepin was estimated by Forbes at $ 1.3 billion in 2015.

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