“If we don’t get out, at least we will make you happy before the New Year,” joked in the Krasnoye Beloye retailer, announcing product discounts at the end of December, shortly after the siloviki’s visit to their main office. Now the company is a participant in a big deal. Red & White, the Bristol alcohol chain, and the Dixie group (Dixie, Victoria, Megamart networks) agreed to merge, the three companies said in a joint statement, Vedomosti reports. Thus, the third largest revenue retailer in the country will be created (after X5 Retail Group and Magnit).
In the combined company, the owner of the Red & White Sergey Studennikov will own 49%, and the owners of Dixie and Bristol Igor Kesayev and Sergey Katsiev 51%. Kesaev and Katsiev are the founders of the Mercury group of companies, which includes, in particular, the largest tobacco distributor Megapolis.
The monetary indicators of the transaction are not disclosed by the parties. "In the process of a parity of assets will be used monetary instruments that will equalize assets in the merger," - quotes RBC statement of the companies. According to Forbes, the current value of Red & White is $ 1.4 billion. Dixie at the time of delisting in May 2018 was worth $ 686 million. Based on this price, the shares were redeemed from minority shareholders.
Probably, the parties to the transaction expect that the merger of the two largest alcohol networks will provide synergies from the point of view of management and logistics optimization, as well as by refraining from competing with each other, says Maxim Khudalov, director of corporate ratings for ACRA. In addition, there is a loyalty program that can be extended to the entire network, said Victor Dima, senior analyst for the consumer sector, ATON. According to him, the result of the transaction will be the creation of the largest seller of alcohol in Russia. However, the deal will not make the market less competitive - on the contrary, competition should intensify due to the emergence of a major player, which other networks will have to reckon with, the analyst believes.
On the whole, Maxim Khudalov continues, the expansion of the alcohol segment in terms of its greater profitability and greater convenience (unlimited storage of goods, there is no need to observe special temperature conditions) is a recent trend, so the direction of development of Dixie fits into the logic of market movement. Both the “Red & White” and “Dixie” started to appear and expand the product range - due to this, they received that part of the customers who are interested in the product line, this was the trend of the last few years, notes Dima.
Now, due to the deterioration of transport accessibility for motorists of stores in large cities, a new impetus to development is received by the format of convenience stores, which presupposes the presence of a large number of relatively small stores in areas with a large number of customers, says Khudalov. From this point of view, the presence of a large number of outlets, albeit of a small size (about 100 sq. M.), Would give Dixy an advantage due to a greater coverage of customers. Dixie and Bristol have tried to unite before. In the spring of 2015, Dixy bought a third of Bristol for 1.78 billion rubles, but by the end of the year it had made a deal to sell the alcohol retailer for 1.83 billion rubles. At that time, the company explained this by the “changed market conditions” and also by the fact that the FAS did not allow buying a controlling stake in Bristol.
The networks "Bristol" and "Red & White" have a lot in common. Both networks began to develop in the provinces, and both in recent years have shown rapid growth in financial performance. The revenue of the Nizhny Novgorod network of “Bristol” alcohol shops in 2017 amounted to 68 billion rubles (62% more than a year earlier), and Chelyabinsk's “Red & White” - 210 billion rubles (plus 52% from a year earlier). Revenues of Dixie Group in 2017 amounted to 283 billion rubles (minus 9% compared with a year earlier). In terms of revenue, Dixy is the fifth among Russian retailers. Now under the trademarks "Dixie", "Bristol" and "Red & White" there are 13 thousand stores.
The Red & White network has grown rapidly in recent years, both in terms of revenue and the number of outlets. In 2017, the number of stores increased from 4,715 to more than 5,300. By the autumn of 2018, the number of stores in the network was close to 7,000, they operate in 50 regions of the country. In fact, “Red & White” is a discounter, which delivers goods to the consumer at basic prices, while choosing cheap locations and bearing the minimum cost of opening a point, continues Victor Dima from Aton. This model looks quite successful, so it is unlikely to change, the analyst believes. The question is whether Dixy will be able to adopt this model: low-cost locations, low-cost rentals, an assortment that is standardized from one country, on the other hand is sold at a low price, but at a high turnover. There are networks in Russia that are trying to build a business using this model, in particular, “Okay,” but it is difficult to fully adopt the experience of discounters “as in Western Europe” on the Russian market, the expert believes. This is due to the fact that Russia is not very competitive sector of food production - it is dominated by major international brands and companies.
Less than a month ago, security forces came to the head office of the “Red & White” with searches. Then the employees of the Federal Security Service, the Federal Service for Alcohol Market Regulation and the Federal Tax Service took part in the investigation. The reason for the search, as explained by the representative of the company, became suspicions of counterfeit trafficking and tax evasion. As a result of the searches, the company's work "was paralyzed," said its spokesperson. The fact that it was the result of the actions of the security forces was not reported - the retailer did not receive any instructions after the searches, continuing to work in normal mode. Prior to this, during 2018, the Red & White company in various regions of Russia wrote to the future partner, the Bristol company. For example, in August 2018, the company filed a complaint with the Nizhny Novgorod Department of the Federal Antimonopoly Service, stating that Krasnoe & Beloe was trading in tobacco products in stores located in the 100-meter zone from educational institutions.