The taxes paid by the Zangezur Copper-Molybdenum Combine (ZCMC) accounted for 3 percent of the Armenian government’s 2021 tax revenue, which rose by 14 percent.
Data released by the State Revenue Committee (SRC) shows that the national gas distribution company owned by Russia’s Gazprom giant was the second most important source of that revenue, followed by the Grand Tobacco cigarette manufacturer. The SRC collected 47.8 billion drams and 42.2 billion drams respectively from these companies in 2021.
Grand Tobacco topped the corporate taxpayers’ list in 2019 and 2020. Its tax payments fell by about 17 percent in 2021.
Armenia’s 20 leading businesses also include other tobacco and mining firms as well as fuel importers, telecommunication operators, a supermarket chain and a software company.
The Yerevan-based company, SoftConstruct, specializes in software solutions for online gambling and gaming. It has become in recent years a key player in Armenia’s burgeoning information technology (IT) sector employing an estimated 20,000 people.
The SRC’s latest list of the 1,000 largest corporate taxpayers includes 36 tech firms. They paid last year a total of 38.7 billion drams in various taxes, 20 percent less than was levied from ZCMC.
The mining giant employing about 4,000 people is based in Kajaran, a town in Syunik. It changed hands last fall following a government crackdown on its management and key shareholders who openly challenged Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian.
Russia’s GeoProMining group announced on October 1 that it has acquired 60 percent of ZCMC and “granted” a quarter of that stake to the government. It gave no clear reason for the lavish donation.
Later in October, another Russian company, which holds a minority stake in ZCMC, challenged the legality of the takeover in an Armenian court.