According to the Autobusinessreview magazine, in 2016, sales of new cars at Independence fell by 27. 5% to 9.1 thousand units. Although the overall fall of the Russian market was much less — 11%. Group revenue decreased by 11%. Amounting to 29 billion rubles. In July this year. The group closed dealerships in Moscow (Volvo. Land Rover / Jaguar and Volkswagen) and Yekaterinburg (Volvo. Mitsubishi and Kia). On September 28, Gazprombank. One of the Independence’s largest lenders. Issued 11 notifications of intent to go to court “due to signs of bankruptcy” against companies in this group in Moscow. Yekaterinburg and Ufa.
The representative of «Independence» and then explained this to the «usual technical procedure. » According to him. Negotiations are underway with the bank on debt settlement. As for the situation with BMW, the dealer’s representative told RBC that in 2017, Independence lost about 300 million rubles in sales of cars of this brand. Due to their low margin.
The total indebtedness of Independence is about 6 billion rubles. Said RBC representative of the group. In addition to Gazprombank. Sberbank is a key creditor of Independence. His representatives did not respond to requests from RBC.
Photo: Nikita Infantiev / Kommersant
A1 representative said that the management of the dealer group is now implementing an anti-crisis plan with the support of banks and importers. “We provide management with support in the negotiation process and make every effort to resolve the situation. ” he added. Roman Tchaikovsky could not quickly comment on the situation.
An analyst with Alor Broker, Kirill Yakovenko, believes that a number of factors could influence the aggravation of the situation in Independence: a crisis in the economy, a sharp decline in sales in 2016, weak market activity compared to other participants. An illiterate strategy for working with automakers. As well as increased leverage. “Six months ago. One of the dealer’s shareholders, A1 Group. Already capitalized Independence by $ 20 million. But to continue the work of such a business. It was already necessary to narrow the number of car dealerships and be the first to wind down contracts with inefficient brands. ” he notes. According to Yakovenko. It will be extremely difficult for the group to continue working.
A representative of Nezavisimosti told RBC that several scenarios for the development of events are being considered. Including restructuring of credit lines and launching a financial recovery process for the company. “We have brands in our portfolio that allow the company to show profit from sales. And the work will be focused on them, ” he said. Without specifying what brands are in question. According to the representative of the group, “there is a difficult negotiation process «Concerning the future fate of the company. “There are already successful precedents on the market for resolving situations that are similar, if not much worse, than [the situation] with the Independence Group, ” he says.
A Peugeot spokesman told RBC that the contract with Independence will expire at the end of the year and the possibility of extending it is being considered. The press service of Mitsubishi RBC reported that the dealer center «Independence» in Ufa continues to work. Representatives of Land Rover / Jaguar and Ford Sollers also claim to continue to work with the dealer.
Meanwhile, the rivals of Independence are stepping up. In late September. The Kommersant newspaper. Citing sources. Wrote that the Avilon car dealership group could occupy the BMW Belaya Dacha dealership in Moscow. Which is rented by Independence. The general director of Avilon Andrey Pavlovich confirmed to RBC that the company is interested in expanding cooperation with BMW and is now considering the possibility of developing a project at the White Cottage under its own brand. “At the moment, this issue is at the negotiation stage, and as soon as we reach a final decision, we will immediately report the results, ” he said.
Avilon may also include the Volvo brand in its portfolio. As told RBC Pavlovich. The company has applied for a dealership. The new salon. According to the CEO. Can be located on Volgogradsky Prospekt in the capital. Where most of the group’s car dealerships are concentrated. It is planned to summarize the tender in November. Volvo spokesman Anton Svekolnikov declined to comment. A BMW spokesman said the company is ready to consider collaborating with dealers who have already proven themselves in working with the brand.
VTB Capital analyst Vladimir Bespalov notes that Independence’s potential withdrawal from the market will not fundamentally affect it: “There is high competition among dealers in Moscow. So other participants will fill up the niches very quickly. ”
In August, compared with August 2016, to almost 133 thousand units. However, premium import brands that do not have production in Russia. Mainly showed negative dynamics.
Moscow. October 6th. Site — Russian representative office of Swedish carmaker Volvo Volvo Cars decided to terminate cooperation with Independence Group. Volvo said in a statement.
«At present. The Independence dealer center (A A Independence Premier Auto LLC) is not able to place orders for Volvo cars and spare parts. » the company said.
At the same time. For service. As well as for questions of acquiring Volvo cars. The company recommends contacting «other authorized Volvo Cars dealers».
Bankruptcy Reports of Independence
Earlier, Gazprombank (GPB) announced its intention to file a bankruptcy petition for a number of Independence group companies. Posting 11 notifications «due to signs of bankruptcy. » Notifications concern the companies of the Independence group in Moscow. Yekaterinburg and Ufa.
Independence itself told Interfax that it was in the process of negotiations with the bank. “Most likely. This is the bank’s usual technical procedure when it issues a“ notice of intention ”to file a bankruptcy petition under a specific loan agreement. This does not mean directly filing a petition and initiating bankruptcy proceedings. ” said the dealer’s representative. Without providing others comments.
At the same time, in June 2015, it was reported that the Independence Group restructured its debt to Gazprombank by 2.6 billion rubles. According to Kommersant. The Independence loan in the GBP was then extended until at least 2019.
At the same time. According to Interfax sources in the car dealership industry. The company is experiencing financing problems. A number of dealerships have already closed. Including Land Rover. Volvo and Volkswagen in Moscow. As well as centers in Ufa and Yekaterinburg. “Decisions on other centers of these brands have either been taken or are being made. ” the agency’s interlocutor said. Adding that dealerships will be closed in October. Independence itself did not confirm this.
«The shareholders of the company decided to focus Audi sales at two auto centers in Moscow. At the moment. We are completing the second stage of optimization. This is due primarily to the fact that the Independence Group is concentrating its efforts on increasing the profitability of the business. » the company representative noted. Adding that «the need to change locations is also related to the specifics of the automotive market. «
«In the difficult economic conditions for dealers. We prefer to abandon disadvantageous locations in favor of new. Potentially more comfortable places for doing business, » he said. Noting also that the company is «forming cluster-type dealerships where several car brands will be presented» . “According to the group’s new strategy. Some brands will be presented only in Russian regions, ” he said. Without giving other details.
At the same time. Another source of Interfax said that the Independence shareholder — investment company A1 — refused to finance the car dealer and would not prevent the bankruptcy of the company if one of the counterparties initiates this process. «Among the possible options for the development of events is the sale of the company. But most likely it will be done in parts — there are no applicants for the entire business. » the Interfax source said.
In turn, representative A1 noted that «the situation in the industry is improving. But the effects of a three-year crisis are still felt. » «Work is underway to restructure the current debt of Independence Group. The car dealer works in partnership with creditor banks to implement operational and strategic initiatives aimed at stabilizing the financial position of the group. The companies of the group have positive experience in overcoming such situations, » he said.
At the same time. The amount of the restructured debt. As well as the names of banks in the company are not called.
According to information about pledges in the system «». Among creditor banks of legal entities owned by Cyprus Independence Holdings Limited. There are Alfa Bank. Promsvyazbank. And the International Financial Club Bank.
In February 2017, it was reported that the shareholders of the Independence Group made a decision on additional financing of the company and the appointment of a new CEO. «This solution will provide the necessary liquidity reserve for implementing plans for further development and improving the quality of customer service. » the dealer said in a statement. The volume of additional investments was not disclosed.
In addition, from February 1, 2017, the general director of the company changed — Elena Zhuravlev was replaced by Nikita Shchegol. Who for four years headed the Formula Kino movie theater chain. «The priorities for the new CEO of Independence Group will be to increase operational efficiency. Improve market positions. As well as bring customer service to a new level. » said Roman Tchaikovsky. Chairman of the Independence Council.
Independence Group of Companies was founded in 1992. The dealer portfolio of the company included brands Audi. Volkswagen, BMW, Jaguar. Land Rover. Volvo. Ford. Mazda, Peugeot. Mitsubishi, Kia. The dealer network united 17 car dealerships in Moscow. Three in Yekaterinburg and two in Ufa. The main shareholders are A1 (owns 49.95% of the company). The rest is with the founder of the group. Roman Tchaikovsky.
One of the largest dealers in Russia. The Independence group of companies. Stopped car sales and closed dealerships. Against the background of scandals with importers that have occurred over the past few months and led to the termination of contracts. This is a rather expected event. In addition. Gazprombank. Which had previously announced plans to bankrupt the companies of the group. Filed bankruptcy claims against several other Independence firms.
Independence Group of Companies is no longer selling new cars. All showrooms are closed in Moscow and in the regions. Vedomosti reported on Monday. The Independence Group portfolio includes Audi. V W. BMW, Jaguar. Land Rover. Volvo. Ford. Peugeot. Mitsubishi. A1 Investment Group owns 49.95%. The rest is owned by Roman Tchaikovsky. Over the past three months. The dealer violated the terms for transferring already paid cars to customers. Because he did not have the means to buy TCP from the importer. So, BMW, Volvo. Jaguar Land Rover and Mazda were the first to stop working with the company. In Independence. Kommersant confirmed that new cars were not being sold. The dealer notes that the necessary restructuring of the group’s debt is now impossible. And expects the bankruptcy processes of the group companies to be initiated. The total debt of the company. According to Vedomosti. Is 6 billion rubles.
At the same time. On Monday it became known that Gazprombank (GPB) filed a lawsuit with the bankruptcy court of a number of companies of the Independence Group of Companies. This follows from the materials of the file cabinet of arbitration cases. So, on November 24, bank claims were filed for bankruptcy of Independence Real Estate Ural LLC. Independence Yekaterinburg M LLC. Independence Yekaterinburg K LLC. Independence M C LLC. Masterpromtorg LLC. Independence — Used Cars LLC . LLC «Independence — Khimki». The Bank has previously announced its intention to file a bankruptcy petition with about 20 Independence companies. In Independence. Kommersant stated that they were going through a “difficult negotiation process about the future fate of the company. ” and assured that they planned to resolve the situation “with less loss for everyone and as soon as possible for customers. ”
In February. Independence shareholders refinanced the company (volumes were not specified) and changed top management. In 2015, Independence restructured a debt of 2.6 billion rubles to Gazprombank. (as Kommersant reported. The loan was extended at least until 2019). A1 “Kommersant” noted that they are in the process of negotiations with banks. And about additional investments “it will be possible to speak only after their completion”. Earlier, sources of Interfax claimed that A1 refused to finance the dealer and would not prevent its bankruptcy if one of the counterparties initiates this process.
In A1, Kommersant was told that “historically. They were a financial investor of the Independence Group of Companies and were not engaged in the company’s operations. ”
At the end of last year. Dealer management reported a difficult financial situation in the company and requested financial support. Which was provided. According to A1. “A1 actively supported management in the process of negotiations with creditor banks, but. Unfortunately, as we see. The situation did not normalize. ” the shareholders said.
About a month ago. Volvo switched from Independence to a prepaid work scheme. But it receives customer complaints about delays in delivering cars. And Mazda customers wait longer for cars than the brand’s dealer network average. RNS told the companies. Previously, BMW said that Independence violates the terms for transferring purchased cars to customers. And the company removes them from the dealership for the safety of cars.
“Approximately since August. We have been working with a dealer on a prepaid basis. That is we ship cars to him after receiving full payment of the cost of the car to Volvo Kars. We are aware of customer complaints regarding the late delivery of vehicles by Independence. At the same time. We also know that many customers who contacted us with complaints received their cars with a delay. ”RVS was told in the press service of Volvo Cars.
“Unfortunately. Delays do occur in individual cases. But the company’s management is doing everything possible to prevent such incidents in the near future. ” a representative of Independence told RNS.
Volvo now has one dealership on Yaroslavl highway in Moscow. “In July. By decision of the Independence Group. Volvo Car dealerships were closed on the Leningradskoye Highway in Moscow and Yekaterinburg. ” the company said. Now the company is negotiating with the dealer «on further steps to stabilize the situation with the delivery of cars to customers. «
Mazda customers are waiting for cars longer than usual. But customers agree to wait. Signing contracts with the dealer. Said Marina Zanarevskaya. Sales director of Mazda Mtotr Rus. To RNS. “The average time for issuing cars to customers after signing a contract with a Mazda dealer. Independence. Is more than the average for the Mazda dealer network. However, this is initially reflected in contracts with customers, thus, the dealer is correct in fulfilling contractual obligations, ”she said.
In July, one of the Independence centers closed on Leningradskoye Shosse in Moscow. Where Volvo. Jaguar and Land Rover were present. As well as two centers in Yekaterinburg. The remaining Jaguar and Land Rover centers are now operational. An RNS spokeswoman for the Russian JLR office said.
Now Independence, besides Jaguar. Land Rover. Volvo, Mazda, BMW. Sells cars Audi. Volkswagen. Brand press services did not respond to an RNS request. Also, Independence service vehicles include Ford, Mitsubishi. Peugeot cars.
“The leadership of the Independence group of companies regularly meets with representatives of importers. Including today there was a meeting with Volvo. Within the framework of this meeting. A plan of joint work was discussed with a view to normalizing the situation. The company’s activities continue. We are in constant communication with all participants in the process — importers. Customers, partners. We give out cars daily and provide after-sales services. ”a representative of Independence said.
Bankruptcy lawsuit of one of the largest Russian car dealerships. Independence. By evening it became known that the company had closed its last dealerships in Moscow.
- Before the crisis. Independence was one of the leaders on the Russian market. The company’s share reached 13-15%. But after the start of sales decline in 2013, the car dealer summed up the calculation for aggressive growth due to borrowed funds.
- Even a strong shareholder represented by the A1 investment company. Which is part of Alfa Group. Could not save the car dealer (it owns 49.95% of the dealer’s shares). In early 2017, shareholders recapitalized the company for $ 20 million. But this did not save the situation.
- The Russian car market has been falling for four years in a row. The peak of the fall (-35. 7%) was in 2015. In 2016, Independence sales fell three times faster than the market — 27. 5% versus 11%.
- At the beginning of 2017, the independence portfolio of the Independence group included the brands Audi. V W. BMW, Jaguar. Land Rover. Volvo. Ford. Peugeot and Mitsubishi. The group’s revenue in 201 amounted to 26 billion rubles. The company’s debt is estimated at 6 billion rubles.
If you ordered a car in Independence and paid in advance. It will now be difficult to return this money. It is best to contact the representative office of the manufacturer right now. When the BMW contract with Independence was terminated in October. The German company took over the delivery of paid cars to customers.
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