Bottomless world: did Gennady Timchenko succeed in creating a strong brand of drinking water

The billionaire trusted to manage the purchased asset to his son-in-law, Gleb Frank, who heads the board of directors of Akvaniki, and Maxim Vorobiev, the founder of Russkoye More. 
Origin source
The factory for bottling water in Murom woods, away from the road, on the border of the Vladimir and Nizhny Novgorod regions began to build the ex-president of "Lukoil International" and "Transnefteprodukt" Sergei Maslov. The plan was ambitious - to create a national brand that can compete with Aqua Minerale from PepsiCo and BonAqua from Coca-Cola. Source of water wells drilled and explored in 2007. Design capacity of the plant can produce up to 500 million liters of beverages and water per year.

Gennady Timchenko invested in the company at the time of construction. Investments, according to Anton Kurevina Relations Director Public Volga Group amounted to € 80 million. Aquanika brand in early 2011 bring to market the company has Timchenko. Three years later, in an interview with Tass billionaire she told how Murom plant became part of his Volga Group: familiar businessman, engaged in several projects at once, lost a lot of money and could not pay its creditors, including himself Timchenko. "At some point, comrade said:" I'm sorry, I can not pay. Do you want to - take away business. " So unexpectedly, I became a manufacturer of water "- a Listingnyal it. Forbes received a comment that Timchenko and Volga Group «not involved in operational issues, but they have all the necessary information about the company."

Manage asset purchased Timchenko ordered his son-Gleb Frank, who headed the board of directors "Akvaniki", and Maxim Vorobiev - the founder of "Russian Sea» (Volga Group has invested in the holding company). Vorobiev took the chair of the independent directors on the board. Create a marketing strategy employed Mildberry agencies working with "Russian Sea". "When we started the project, called" Akvanika "already existed, and the water was made, - says Oleg Beriev, Managing Director Mildberry. - It was decided that the name of the reserve, but the strategy, brand and packaging necessary to alter. "

Representatives of billionaire not stinted on expensive managers.

The post of Director General invited Vladimir Senkina, led the network "Lenta", in 2012 he was replaced by Vladislav Glagolevskij, who made his career in Russian Coca-Cola. Operating Officer appointed Alexander Kapanina of Ukrainian Coca-Cola. "There were small amounts of debt and the current production, it was necessary to reach the level of payback," - says Beriev, a member of the board of directors "Akvaniki". According to him, the sales plan was compiled on the basis not of the market situation and the potential demand and the capacity of that needed to download.

Compete Aquanika had both untwisted foreign brands and trademarks with the Russian, having a clear marketing strategy. "Traditionally, the spring water is associated in the Russian consumer with mountains, glaciers, and the Caucasus. If there is no mountain, it seems that much of the value and benefits of the new water, too, no, "- says the Beriev. He proposed to consider the origin of the water and the features of the territory on which the production. The result stopped on the relic sea concept, formed 300 million years ago. Trademark Aquanika made of ancient mollusk shell ammonite. The labels put information about the uniqueness of water - all without cheating. But the idea was a marketing technique. Many manufacturers use the ancient aquiferhorizons.

The term "relic sea" is not in the encyclopedias, but the phrase sounds impressive.

Marketing and commercial departments have taken on a three-day team-building, which jointly finalized the plans of sales and promotion strategy in retail. If in 2011 "Akvanika" LLC received 117 million rubles of revenue, in the next year - 366 million rubles (SPARC information). To increase the volume, it was decided to make carbonated and soft drinks. Brand "The Ministry of soda" (tarragon, lemonade, cream soda, lemonade and duchesse) have come up for a younger audience, but then revised the concept to the traditional. For children "Akvanika" franchise has released a line of juice drinks Winx Club - with cartoon characters on the label. A brand launched "Murom Source" (as stated on the company website, this water is made with the blessing of Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, Kirill) for the mass market segment of drinking water in May 2012.

In 2014, "Akvanika" signed a contract with "Drink TransServis" - subsidiary of Russian Railways & mdash; in the amount of 89.6 million rubles. Revenue "Akvaniki" in the same year, according to SPARK, amounted to 775 million rubles. If a net loss to 1.7 billion rubles.

What position has been achieved? According to Nielsen estimates, the share of "Akvaniki" in the Russian market of mineral and drinking water was 0.05% in 2015, while PepsiCo (Aqua Minerale, «Springs of Russia", "Essentuki") - 7%. "Premium-water segment fell by 11% last year, - says Sergey Glamazda, director of the food market with companies" to Nielsen Russia ". - Products "Akvaniki" is available only in 2% of the Russian food stores. " Aquanika is, for example, in supermarkets "AB Market". "Average sales. Most likely, the position will be rotated at a Reversing "- says a spokesperson for" ABC taste "Andrey Golubkov.

According to Oleg Beriev, the company's revenue has grown at a good pace. "But still it remained loss, because the plant is very large and heavy. We were shackled, and wings at the same time ", - he says, adding that it makes sense to chase the leaders, when you can investa lot of money in the team, marketing and promotion. Aquanika this is not to save, but also to spend more than they earn. Selling expenses of "Akvanika" (logistics, advertising and other costs related to sales) for 2011-2014 increased by 14 times, up to 583 million rubles. And actually support unprofitable.

In 2014, the "Akvaniki" was replaced by CEO - it was headed by Vladimir Ivanov, who earlier headed "Rosspirtprom." With a number of networks, he said, business is limited to the production of private label water - for example, for the "Auchan". Since September 2015 Aquanika comes "Aeroflot". "Cooperation with transport companies - a point of communication with the consumer. We are on these contracts do not earn, but the customer sees us. Business - is for sale in the shops, "- says Ivanov.

Nevertheless, the new contract "Akvaniki" with the Railways will bring her in 2016 55.2 million rubles (SPARC information).

The company's strategy has changed in comparison with what was intended in the construction of the plant. "You can not talk about the possibility of a blitzkrieg on this market, - ReasoningIvanov is. - Our competitors - it is a serious company, with some huge name. " Last year, the volume of the issue "Ministry of soda" exceeded Aquanika issue (all sold more than 13 million liters of water and beverages, not including contract manufacturing). And in the summer, "Akvaniki" will brand of kvass. But it will be harder to win a place for him. 75% of the market of bottled kvass control only five manufacturers.

"In my view, to sum up, especially in comparison with indicators of the largest players in the market, it is too early - the company at the beginning, while foreign brands only in the Russian market for more than 20 years - believes Maxim Vorobiev (to participate in the management of" Akvanikoy "he moved in 2012, now works at the Board of Directors of PJSC" Russian aquaculture "). - The "Akvaniki" strong team, high-tech manufacturing, logistics built up, high-quality raw material base - the asset, in principle, a promising and interesting. "