Africa Yoo!: where former managers of Lenta build up a new business

Sergey Yuschenko has lived in West Africa for three years. "Last year was very hard in Russia. I wanted to radically change my life. When we got through with Lenta, before the New Year, I landed in Ghana all on my own," — said the former general director and shareholder of the retail network Lenta, who created a new business in the African country, to RBC Magazine.
Origin source
Medieval European entrepreneurs of West Africa has a pantry resources, which they called the local colony: Ivory Coast, Pepper, Gold and Slave coast. Until recently, the resource base of Africa believed and modern business. But things are changing: China has grown and out of fashion, a new hope for international business is becoming Africa, the latter almost untapped region of the world where 1 billion people live.

After the war

In November, the first store opened Yoo in the Ghanaian capital of Accra! Mart. In the language of Twi "yoo" means "good health." Launched store investment company Volta Capital Partners, which is headed by Sergei Yushchenko. "I do not want to compare, but to the size of our first store in Africa like a" tape-CD most, "- he says.

In Accra, working with him a team of people from "Lenta": former commercial director Milina Mikulov, a former logistics director Vladimir Gorichev, a former marketing director Catherine Pustoshny. They all have options on shares in Volta Capital or will soon have them, Yushchenko explains. Build newth "Lenta" they will have on the territory, which is almost does not know this format: even in the capital of Ghana on the retail network accounts for only 5% of the market.

Sergei Yushchenko was the first time in Africa, in March of 2008. At the beginning of that year, he lost his job: in "Lenta" has inflamed the conflict between shareholders. August Meyer and Oleg Stallions fought for power, each promoting its managers. In April, they have appointed a new director general - it was not Yushchenko. But a month before the group "Renaissance Capital", actively investing in Africa since 2006, he invited him to assess the prospects of the retail business in Nigeria and Ghana.

The first city, the Nigerian Lagos, Yushchenko made a painful impression, as the country itself. "Nigeria - this is such a" black "Russia. The largest sector of the economy - oil and gas. The terrible corruption. Relatively high crime rate, "- he lists. Located just 400 km from Lagos, Accra and Ghana as a whole have made a very different impression: "Nigerians are aggressive and peace-loving Ghanaians. In Accra, a low crime rate, and the foreigners feel pretty safe". If venturing business in West Africa, you should start with Ghana, Yushchenko decided during the first trip.

"Sergei fell in love with Africa, - says the former financial director of" Lenta "Cyril Panyushkin. - He is a very addictive personality, in all its passion sincerely believes. If you believe, it is difficult to convince, even with the help of objective arguments. " In 2008, Africa remained the idea: returning to Russia, Yushchenko continued managerial career. In November 2008, he became CEO of "Euroset", but has worked in this position for only four months. From February to September of 2010, led by Spar Moscow Holdings, one of the Dutch Spar franchisee network. And then I returned to the "tape" in which he had a small stake - about 0.5%.

In the spring of 2010 in "Lenta" began a new phase of the shareholder conflict - between August Meyer and TPG Capital funds and "VTB Capital", to redeem in 2009 the share of Oleg Zherebtsova. Yushchenko took Meyer's proposal, which is supported in his opposition to the preceding, and became interim director of "Lenta" (combining it with work in Spar). TPG and VTB-called disputedAchen, and this round of conflict was even more colorful of the former: the courts, PR-campaign, the head office of seizures. The war ended in August of 2011 by the fact that Meyer and several of his supporters, the minority shareholders sold 44% shares of "belts" opponents for $ 1.14 billion. Yushchenko for its 0.5% received approximately $ 13 million.

52.9% - share of retail chains in the trade turnover of St. Petersburg in 2013, according to Rosstat. This is the highest among Russian cities

18% - the share of networks in Moscow

21.5% - the average in Russia

Krasnodar 1990s

"Imagine that you have some amount of money and you thoroughly know the subject called" reteyl ". You think that I can do in Russia with that money? The answer is - nothing, retail already highly competitive, there will not climb, - says another former minority shareholder "tapes" Gleb Ognyannikov and adds: - it is possible only in a growing market for $ 1 to get $ 100. " And in Africa, there is no modern retail formats.

Yushchenko's team collected, inviting acquaintances managers in Ghana at least a week. "Before that I was not interested zhizStrongly West Africa. Like everyone, I have had the association that there are people with spears running among the trees ", - says Vladimir Gorichev. He first came to Ghana in February 2012, now spends most of his time here periodically flying the family to St. Petersburg.

lives of about 3.5 million people in Accra and the surrounding area, 95% of them buy food at markets and small shops, says Catherine Pustoshny. Arriving in Accra, she and Yushchenko visited all the local markets and chain stores. According to her, only 5% of the population - provided Ghanaians and foreigners - are bought in supermarkets, where the capital is only 10, including four Shoprite and Game Shop South African network, owned by the American Walmart. "Ghana - is a Krasnodar Territory of the late 1990s, with its container-countertop-type baulnym trade, where there is no" Magnit ", but opened" Okay "smaller. Only instead of the Black Sea coast of the Atlantic Ocean, there is no snow, black people, and the population is 5 times more ", - Yushchenko smiles.

His team not only ex-managers of "Lenta": at the beginning of 2012an ode to the investor and partner of a businessman in the Volta Capital Partners was a former employee of the Bank Potishman Felix, who worked with him on a deal between the "Ribbon" and the EBRD in 2007, when the bank bought 11% of the network for $ 125 million.

'Why I decided to participate? Firstly, Sergei - a professional who knows how to inspire people. It can simply call - people come and work, - answers Potishman. - Secondly, the very Ghana - a new democratic country, there is compliance with the laws, there is freedom of speech. There is no "glass ceiling" for businesses in countries where the authorities are "family". Potishman works as an independent consultant, specializing in projects in developing countries. Volta Capital - the only project on which it is spending and its time and their money.

As Yushchenko said, in the first phase they are investing through Volta Capital $ 10 million, of which $ 3 million went to start Yoo! Mart. Felix Potishman does not specify what its share in the project, but notes that "much less than Sergei." The yield on the projects in Ghana partners never discussed. «Volta Capital founded on the principles of private equity funds,so we expect to yield at least at the level of such funds, ie by 20-30% ", - he added.

According to the IMF, in 2013, Ghana with a nominal GDP per capita of $ 1871 population took 136 th place in the world, between Nicaragua and Zambia. "The indicator is low, but the potential is great" - concludes Potishman. From 2009 to 2013th GDP at constant prices grew by an average of 8.5% per year, with average annual inflation of 9.2%. The biggest jump, 15%, was in 2011, when Ghana's offshore oil production began. For high rates of growth of PwC in a report called Ghana a "rising star of Africa" ​​for 2013. Recently, international investors have decided that they do like Africa.

Why Africa, why now?

In 1980, on the country's "Big Seven" accounted for most of the world's GDP, while in 2019 their share was less than 30%, the IMF predicts. Her "eat off" developing regions, with the highest growth rates in Asia will show the next five years (average 6.5%) and the countries of sub-Saharan Africa (5.8%).

When in 2011 the company EY conducted an annual survey of businessmen about the investment attractiveness of the ointments regions, Africa it ranked eighth out of ten - fewer votes were cast only in Central America and the CIS. And in the same poll in 2014, Africa is second only to North America and shared second place with Asia, which topped the previous three years. "Africa - this untold story, and it can be a very important story of the next decade, as India and China in the past decade", - quotes the head of EY Coca-Cola Muhtar Kent.

The structure of investment in Africa has changed dramatically. According to the calculations of fDi Intelligence, which refers to The EY, in 2004, 14.1% of all African projects involving foreign direct investment accounted for Mining and Metallurgy, 11.6% - for oil and gas. In 2013, the share of these sectors decreased respectively to 2.4 and 3.5%. The leader was the sector of telecommunications and media (20.2%) and in second place for the first time released the consumer sector (17.5%).

According to PwC, in 2013 more than 70% of multinational consumer companies present in Africa. Today, they work mainly in North Africa (Egypt, Algeria, Morocco) and South Africa. However, in recent years, sweatsumer corporation actively investing in countries in sub-Saharan Africa, also known as Black Africa. Highest average annual growth rate of projects involving foreign direct investment - Ghana and Kenya. According to IMF data, in 2013 GDP at purchasing power parity per capita in sub-Saharan Africa amounted to only $ 3510 (for comparison, in the "Big Seven" countries - $ 44,651 in Latin America - $ 14 904, in the poorest countries of South-East Asia - $ 9685). What attracts traders territory inhabited by the poorest people in the world?

In fact, the difference between the countries of the region is very high - from $ 604 per capita in the Central African Republic with a population of 5 million people and $ 33,800 in Equatorial Guinea, where 750 thousand people.. One of the largest states highest rates in South Africa (see. "Attractive Africa"). Africa portend a great future: EY with reference to the Oxford Economics reports that the total purchasing power of Africans by 2030 more than doubled, and the development of African Bank is sure that by 2060 th middle class will total 1 billion people andIt amounts to 42% of the total population.

"We must look to the future and look for what we can give rise in the future. I think now it's about Africa ", - said this summer, the newspaper" Vedomosti "the president of Danone Franck Riboud. In the past two years, Danone has invested in Africa, more than € 1 billion. The corporation Nestle, the sale of which in Africa in 2013 amounted to 3.3 billion Swiss francs (about € 2.7 billion and 3.6% of turnover), intends to 2020 is th double revenue in the region was reported to RBC magazine in the company. The same proportion is going to increase sales in Africa Unilever group.

"Megatrends", as we call them, are favorable Africa ", - says head of the PwC Business Development Department, African Gender Klil in the article" Why Africa, why now, "published in September?. Among the "megatrends" Klil include rapid population growth, growing middle class, urbanization, technological innovation. "Will you wait too long, miss the chance" - he warns.

Forward to the past

In Ghana, not all is well. "If three years ago I was told at what stage we will seOD A Y, I have some sad. Here, everything is not so fast, there is a bureaucracy, you need to have patience, "- says Sergei Yushchenko. For example, on the import of the share capital and the opening of bank accounts, it took more than six months. But foreigners not necessary to create a joint venture with residents, enough, if a citizen of Ghana is one of the directors of the company, or even a secretary. Yushchenko has hired a secretary.

Initially Volta Capital owners are going to invest in operating companies. We bought a small share in the near-bankruptcy of the Ghanaian firm producing construction materials. Calling it a businessman does not want to. He says that his team was able to increase sales three times, after which the principal shareholders have offered to buy out the share of Volta Capital. "Remember the story of the" Ribbon ", I decided that it is easier to accept", - says Yushchenko. Eventually realized that the most interesting and most promising direction for them - all the same food retail. But it is not found in Accra projects, which could be invested, so build your store type cash & carry - c lower prices for ordinary customersand small traders.

In Ghana accepted to carry the load on his head, and in the first days of the new shop across Accra, people were walking with a "branded" baskets on their heads, which was written by Yoo! Mart. "Before, no one did, but then they all go to the baskets, it was interesting to try this unusual advertising channel," - says Catherine Pustoshny. To emphasize the availability of the store, in the name of the local word used in the logo - African ornaments. "We spent a lot of focus groups with Ghanaians, including those concerning the name - she continues. - It was the most fun a focus group in my life: Ghanaians great sense of humor. "

If the first store Yoo! Mart in Ghana will be successful, will appear more and more of them. From the perspective of retailers Accra is a largely undeveloped area - to retailers share here is about 5% of all trade, people used to be bought in the markets and in small "container" outlets, familiar to residents of Russia in the 90 th year. lives of about 4 million people in the Ghanaian capital and its surroundings, it all & ndash; potential buyers Yoo! Mart'ov.

A typical family in Accra, she said, is made up of five or six people: a husband, a wife, three children, grandmother or grandfather. The average income per person per month - $ 140, half of which is spent on food. "There are no people who could consume 100 types of sausages and 50 kinds of cheese. They eat a limited list of products and are happy to have this ", - says Sergey Yushchenko. However, in Yoo! Mart 1.7 thousand sq. M. m of retail space will be 2.5 thousand SKUs:. Ghanaians will begin to gradually accustom to diversity. By Russian standards, it's pretty meager: the "Tape-CD" which Volta Capital employees feel closest format represented an average of 15 thousand SKUs to 3 thousand square meters... m of retail space. 2-2,5 thousand items -. A small range of "Pyaterochka" and "Dixie", said the general director of «INFOline-Analysts' Mikhail Burmistrov.

For the construction of the store bought plots on the outskirts of Accra. People from neighboring areas drive through here once or twice a month, heading for the capital markets for shopping, Yushchenko said. "We give them the choice: Go on to larger markets or buy everything you need from us. We want to kill the market, therefore offer lower prices ", - says the businessman plans. After a few months of work, he wants to go to a gross margin of 15%. The average bill in the first months is forecast to $ 10. By comparison, gross margin "Lenta" was 21.8% in 2013, the average check - about 1 thousand rubles..

"The main risk - that people do not go. They used to be bought in the markets, although there is crowded and hot, there will come to us? "- Reflects Felix Potishman. If they come, Volta Capital will continue to open stores in Accra (already another plot in the center), in a five-year term - in Nigeria and other West African countries. Yushchenko is ready to attract new investors and, in particular, offer a share of the former shareholders of "Lenta".

"The project in Africa we Augustus [Meyer] is interesting. We are generally interested in everything, especially in Africa, I had never been "- said RBC magazine former minority shareholder" tapes "Dmitry Kostygin. "If everything (and I think it will), it will be one of the greatest stories of Russian business in Afike ", - says Gleb Ognyannikov that every month Yushchenko interested in business, however, has not yet decided whether to invest in his projects.

"Most Ghanaians love to eat, and to build their homes. But there's no DIY-stores [hypermarkets with goods for the construction and repair]. This is also a promising niche for us ", - stressed Yushchenko. In Africa, he sees opportunities that are not in their native country. "I think many of our fellow citizens dream: Now, if we returned to Russia late 1990s, we would all have shown. And here we have a real chance to do it ", - concludes the entrepreneur.

Opportunities in Africa appreciated another Russian businessman - co-founder of the pharmacy network "36.6" Artem Bektemirov.

Artem Bektemirov - RBC: "In Africa, a good appetite from investors"