Mining industry management systems developer VIST Group, whose daughter company VIST Robotics is a resident of the Skolkovo Foundation, has sold a majority stake to Zyfra, a company developing solutions to digitalize industry, the companies said in a statement last week.

VIST Robotics' technology in use in BelAZ earthmoving machinery in Belarus. Photo:

The deal, worth 2 billion rubles ($30 million), is due to be closed in 2020. The funds will be invested partly in developing VIST Robotics’ Intelligent Mine project, a complex solution for unmanned surface mining using self-driving vehicles.

“Industrial giants are looking for options to improve the entire production chain efficiency, not its separate elements,” said Dmitry Vladimirov, CEO of VIST Group.

“I believe that the technological synergy of the two companies will significantly boost the commercial and innovation potential of our solutions in response to this market demand.”

A significant part of the investment will be spent on perfecting ongoing R&D projects: driverless vehicles and robotic machinery for mining, the creation of a digital platform, the introduction of artificial intelligence, and the development of solutions based on predictive analytics, the companies said.

The money invested by Zyfra will also be used to expand the company’s international activities and to boost sales of VIST Group products on international markets. VIST technology is already in use in countries including Morocco, South Africa, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Vietnam and Indonesia, and sales outside Russia and the CIS currently account for 20 percent of the company’s total sales. 

Dmitry Vladimirov, CEO of VIST Group. Photo:

VIST Group expects to see turnover grow by 20 percent this year to 1.4 billion rubles ($21 million). That figure is expected to double by the end of 2020, driven by international sales, driverless and robotic technology, and the use of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), according to the company.

“VIST Group’s competitive advantages are its comprehensive approach, its thorough industry expertise and its accumulated technology base, as well as its driverless technologies that have been tried and tested at working mines,” said Igor Bogachev, CEO of Zyfra.

“For Zyfra, as a global vendor of digital solutions, this deal will make it possible to nail down a key mining market sector using unique expertise.”

Zyfra, which was founded in November 2017 and combines data science with industrial expertise to provide end-to-end solutions for industries including machinery, metallurgy, oil and gas and mining, currently operates in Finland, China, Russia, Bulgaria and India.

VIST Robotics earlier this month unveiled its autonomous industrial loading and transport system for the mining industry at a testing ground in Belarus, using earthmoving equipment made by BelAZ.

“Skolkovo is a successful development institute, and VIST Mining Technologies (VIST Robotics) is a successful example of the development of one of our resident companies,” said Konstantin Parshin, head of the Skolkovo Foundation’s IT cluster.

“In 2017, VIST Group and its daughter company VIST Mining Technology – a resident of the Skolkovo Foundation – signed an investment agreement with an international venture fund under the management of I2BF Global Ventures and VTB Capital Asset Management. This year’s deal in which Zyfra is buying VIST Group is an excellent example of the company’s growth and its establishment on the international market.”

VIST Group’s senior management will retain their positions following the deal, the statement said.