Hockey player Alexander Ovechkin invested in Papa John's pizzeria network in Russia

Recently, one of the most famous Russian athletes became the face of the brand in Russia.
PJ Western, the master franchisee of the American Papa John's network in Russia, the CIS and Central Europe, completed the third round of investments in late 2017, during which it raised $ 10 million, PJ Western President Christopher Winn told Vedomosti. Investors are the managing shareholder of PJ Western - Global Restaurant Management (GRM) and hockey player Alexander Ovechkin, he said. This was confirmed by Ovechkin's agent, partner of Bruin Sports Capital David Abrutin. What exactly amount Ovechkin invested in the company and what share he received, they do not disclose.

Ovechkin - one of the most successful and famous Russian athletes, the striker of the National Hockey League of Washington Capitals. In 2017, he took the first place in the rating of "50 stars of show business and sports" of the Russian Forbes, his income is estimated at $ 14 million. In November 2017, the sportsman created and financed the informal patriotic movement of Putin Team in support of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

With Papa John's hockey player has been cooperating for a long time. In 2016, he starred in English advertising Papa John's, and in 2017 became the face of the brand "Papa Jones" in Russia.

After Ovechkin became a partner of the company in the field of marketing, it was natural to discuss the investment potential, explains Abrutin. "Alexander believes in long-term partnerships, and although he does not think about completing a sports career, he is already thinking about what kind of business he wants to do in Russia," he said. Whether the sportsman previously invested in any business, Abrutin did not specify.

There are no agreements on when Ovechkin will leave the business. But in 4-7 years, a strategic sale of a company or an IPO is possible. Then he can sell the shares, says Winn. Abrutin emphasizes that for Ovechkin this is a long-term investment.

Chocolate, wine, cars - what the sportsmen invest in

Tennis player Maria Sharapova

since 2012, produces chewing gum and sweets under the brand Sugarpova. She invested $ 500,000 in the project. In 2014, Forbes wrote, sales increased 2-fold to 3 million packs.

Ice hockey player Igor Larionov

in 2002 he established Triple Overtime Wine, investing $ 1 million in it. He gave 40% of the company to the vintner Mike Davis. Triple Overtime started trading and producing wine under its own brand in wineries in Australia and California.

Footballer Sergei Semak

in 2015 became the owner of the Krasnodar company "Nazaris", engaged in processing of rice. According to SPARK-Interfax, the company's revenue in 2016 was 18.3 million rubles, profit - 1.3 million rubles.

Football player Andrei Arshavin

as co-owner of Baltavtotrade, in 2009 opened a BMW dealer center in St. Petersburg. The partner of Arshavin was the general director of the BMW salon in Moscow Maxim Karakhanov. According to the latter, the partners invested 15 million euros in the St. Petersburg auto center. In 2012, Arshavin left the business. The company Baltavtotrade in 2016 was declared bankrupt.

PJ Western operates a network of 147 Papa John's restaurants in Russia, the CIS and Poland, its shareholders are GRM and the Capman investment fund. The company's revenue in 2017 amounted to 4.5 billion rubles. By 2018, PJ Western has become one of Papa John's largest franchise enterprises in the world. The attracted investments will be directed to the development of business and the opening of new restaurants. So, in 2018 at least 60 new establishments will be opened, Winn says. In 2018, another round of investments is planned.

Other networks of pizzerias also actively attract investments. For example, DP Eurasia (which includes the Russian business Domino's Pizza) in July 2017 during the IPO raised 148 million pounds. Domino's Pizza intends to open 40-60 restaurants a year, says network marketing director Elena Ivanova. Domino's Pizza in Russia doubled sales to 3.3 billion rubles. in 2017. Another network, Dodo Pizza, raised $ 7.5 million. It intends to increase the number of establishments 5 times to 1500 over five years, says its founder, Fyodor Ovchinnikov.

Now is the time for expansion: the market is not yet saturated with large networks, such as Dodo Pizza, Domino's Pizza, Papa John's and Pizza Hut, Ovchinnikov believes. In Russia, the number of pizzerias per person is ten times lower than that of America. "Even if the rival's restaurant opens nearby, this does not affect the income of our institution," he assures. The executive director of Restcon Andrey Petrakov does not agree with this: the market already has a high concentration. Therefore, large networks can increase market share, only displacing smaller companies.

According to Euromonitor International, the pizzeria accounts for 17% of the entire fast-food market. Sales last year increased by 6% to 86.4 billion rubles. In the future, they will continue to grow at the same small pace, Petrakov believes.