Grant Holding owner Hrant Vardanyan dies at 65: Leading businessman succumbs to heart disease

Grant Holding owner Hrant Vardanyan dies at 65: Leading businessman succumbs to heart disease

Photolure

“The biggest hobby for me is to take some useless scheme, an area and build something there, create a working atmosphere”. This is what Hrant Vardanyan, Armenia’s leading businessman, said in one of his recent interviews. The owner of Grant Holding that has created more than 30,000 jobs in Armenia’s industrial sector and agriculture died of a heart disease on Saturday, April 19, aged 65.

The name of Vardanyan is largely associated with post-Soviet economic recovery in Armenia. In 1997, he took over a decaying Soviet-era factory in Yerevan and set up domestic production of tobacco and candies, creating much-needed jobs and paying taxes to the state budget of the newly independent state.

“I may be the 40th or 400th richest man in Armenia, but I am the fourth largest taxpayer,” Vardanyan said proudly in a 2007 interview with the “3 Million” magazine. “There are quite a few wealthy people in Armenia, but unfortunately they are at the bottom of the taxpayer list.”

During the first nine month of 2013 Grand Holding, which consists of nine enterprises, paid nearly $37 million to the state budget.

Vardanyan, the father of two and granddad of five, dreamed of a country with “normally working businesses not depending on the mood of bureaucrats”. “Then, it would be possible for me to retire and spend more time with my grandkids,” he said in one of his interviews.

Vardanyan’s untimely death came as saddening news not only for his family and friends, but also for many people who have known him personally or have followed his activities. His family has been receiving messages of condolences from all over the country and beyond.

“I think that young people need neither sermons nor charity, what they need most is jobs, a normal society so that smart and educated young people will stay rather than go abroad and serve other states. We should do our utmost for the generations of our nation to remain in this land and create here,” Vardanyan said.

A memorial service for the prominent businessman will be held in St. Sargis Church of Nor Nork in Yerevan on April 22, from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm. Vardanyan will lie in state at the Komitas Chamber Music House on April 23, from 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm. He will be buried at the Yerevan City Pantheon.