Vodka did not go to court



A major alcohol producer Rust Group (Russian Standard, Green Mark) Rustam Tariko settled a dispute with Alfa-Bank, which demanded about 8 billion rubles from the group's companies. Rust could refinance most of the debt in another bank. The growth in consumption and production of vodka in the country should additionally support the group's business, but competitors are developing more dynamically, experts say.

This week, Alfa-Bank sent to the Moscow Arbitration Court several motions to drop claims in a dispute with the structures of a large alcohol producer Rust Group (brands Russian Standard, Zelenaya Marka, Parliament, etc.) Rustam Tariko , follows from the files of cases. As of Thursday evening, the lawsuits were waived as part of cases involving the recovery of 1.93 billion rubles from the group's companies. According to claims for another 1.12 billion rubles. the court decided to terminate the proceedings. There are no updates on other cases in the file of cases yet.

In mid-August, Alfa-Bank filed a series of lawsuits against the structures of Rust Group demanding about 8 billion rubles. due to non-fulfillment of obligations under the agreement on a revolving multicurrency credit line dated September 2015. The representative of the Rust Group explained that the group was going to settle with Alfa-Bank during the sale of the Polish CEDC (Zubrowka brand, etc.) to the local Maspex group, but due to sanctions, it was unable to pay the debt.

According to a Kommersant source in the market, Alfa-Bank repaid most of the obligations of Rust Group structures by refinancing a third-party bank. The interlocutor of Kommersant did not disclose the name of the credit institution. According to him, relations between Alfa-Bank and Rust Group remained on bank guarantees valid until the end of 2022, as well as on restructured obligations under previously paid guarantees. The Rust Group of Companies told Kommersant that they had settled all financial issues and disagreements with Alfa-Bank, which resulted in the termination of litigation and other legal and administrative actions in relation to each other.

Vyacheslav Putilovsky, junior director for banking ratings at Expert RA, says that in order to refinance liabilities in another bank of Rust Group, new collateral, a guarantee or a subsequent pledge of already pledged property could be needed. According to him, due to the complex structure of the transaction, the rate of the refinanced loan may be higher than the market. As part of the consideration of one of the claims of Alfa-Bank against Rust structures for 1.4 billion rubles. the court also seized the assets of the defendants - cash on accounts and alcoholic beverages, which paralyzed operational activities, the court materials say. Kommersant's interlocutors in retail chains in August said that Rust was suspending deliveries against this background. If the debt is repaid, the arrest must be lifted, says Yury Fedyukin, managing partner of the law firm Enterprise Legal Solutions.

Alexander Stavtsev, head of the WineRetail information center, notes that the advantage of Rust Group is a diversified business with a strong vodka brand and its own Italian wine house Gancia, the presence of which is especially important in the current conditions. On the other hand, Rust has not paid much attention to the distribution business in recent years, and the group's key competitors have been developing their retail chains, launching HoReCa departments, etc., he adds.

According to Kommersant's data from market participants, in January-August, Rust was the fifth largest producer of vodka in the Russian Federation, producing 3.76 million decalitres, which is 32% less year-on-year. Earlier, the group explained that they were temporarily reducing production volumes due to a decrease in the number of orders from some export markets due to sanctions. According to EGAIS, the total production of vodka in the Russian Federation during this period increased by 9.17%, to 49.97 million decaliters, retail sales - by 7.11%, to 49.39 million decaliters. Director of CIFRRA Vadim Drobiz says that the Russian vodka market remains growing and, although this is less true for premium brands, the trend should also be supported by Rust's business.

Anatoly Kostyrev



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