Son-in-law of Sergei Lavrov wanted to sneeze at his pharmacy

Pharmacies “Yes, healthy!” And “ABC Life” were overwhelmed with creditors.
Since the beginning of 2019, drug suppliers, landlords and other partners of Mega Farm have filed 188 lawsuits against related entities (Mega Farm LLC, Da Zdorov LLC, Mega Farm Vladimir LLC, etc.) a total amount of 148.7 million rubles, according to SPARK-Interfax.

Mega Farm is owned by the Marathon Group investment company, which was founded by the son-in-law of Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov and former president of the A1 investment company Alexander Vinokurov, as well as his partner Sergey Zakharov. Among the assets of the Marathon Group there is a share in the Magnit chain of stores, franchisees of the KFC cafe chain and others.

In 2016, Mega Farm agreed with X5 Retail Group to open 3300 pharmacies A-Mega and Yes, Healthy! By Pyaterochka, Perekrestok and Karusel stores by 2020. How many pharmacies Mega Pharma eventually opened, a representative of X5 did not open. In September 2019, he also told Kommersant about several hundred pharmacies on his premises.

Another partner of Mega Pharma is the ABC of Taste chain of stores. In her stores, he received a preferential lease for 10 years. In the ABCs of Taste, Mega Farm, by the end of 2017, wanted to open 18 pharmacies of the ABC of Life. Further plans were to open 10 points per year. As of July 5, 2019, the ABC of Life, according to its data, had 22 pharmacies.

In 2019, the ABC of Taste filed 14 claims with a partner for 9.4 million rubles. in connection with the debt on sublease of premises. A retailer’s spokesman says some lawsuits have already been decided, others in the process.

The largest amount from the Mega Pharma structure through the court is trying to get the Katren pharmaceutical distributor - 12.8 million rubles, according to SPARK-Interfax. The reason for the claim is not indicated in the court materials; the case was planned to be considered on January 27, 2020. The representative of Katren did not respond to the request.

Currently, there are only 40 lawsuits against Mega Pharma legal entities, its representative claims. For the most part, lawsuits all proceedings have already been completed and settled, and negotiations with other creditors are close to a solution. He adds that now the total amount of claims against the company does not exceed 200,000 rubles. A spokesman for the Marathon Group declined to comment.

Mega Farm has always paid with a delay for the products sold, says the general director of one of the plaintiffs, Moscow-Amros CJSC German Kaplanovich. But in the I quarter of 2019, according to him, he stopped paying, explaining this by the lack of free money. This is not true, the representative of Mega Pharma claims: in 2019, Mega Farm worked on a prepaid basis, and on other conditions collaborated with a minimum number of suppliers.

In September 2019, Kommersant, citing its sources, wrote that the Marathon Group was considering the possibility of selling a pharmacy chain. Then the investment company did not comment on this.

Now Mega Farm has almost completed its activity, some pharmacies have been sold, a representative of DSM Group knows.
Some of the company's pharmacies in stores X5 closes, said a representative of the retailer. In January 2020, X5 offered other pharmacies to rent 74 outlets that used to be occupied by Mega Pharmacy, a top manager of one of the pharmacy chains said. Pyaterochka, according to the representative of X5, is considering subleasing a package of several points to one pharmacy operator at once.

On January 27, 2020, there was no information on working pharmacies on the A-Mega and Yes Health! Sites, Vedomosti was convinced. Only two pharmacies are listed on the ABC Life website. I couldn’t reach the Mega Pharma call center and its pharmacies - their phones didn’t work.

Some pharmacies are indeed closing, a spokesman for Mega Pharma confirmed. For the rest, he said, negotiations are underway for sale with regional and federal pharmacy chains. He did not disclose other details.

Why did Mega Farm run into difficulties? The management of Marathon did not have the competence to create an effective pharmacy network with a significant market share, said Mikhail Burmistrov, general director of Infoline Analytics, to Kommersant. In the first half of 2019, according to DSM, Mega Pharma had 585 pharmacies, while the group's revenue decreased by 50% year-on-year to 2.8 billion rubles.

The business model chosen by Mega Pharm worked, its representative does not agree. But, he said, external factors appeared that limited opportunities for network growth. What are these factors, he did not say.

If the companies of the pharmacy chain have not been consolidated into one legal entity, the chances of getting debt from creditors are rather low, says Alexander Panov, the head of healthcare practice at Pepeliaev & Partners Law Firm. Pharmacies, as a rule, do not have assets, he said: they have only commodity balances and rights to rent premises, the sale of which may not cover debts. Theoretically, controlling entities of the Marathon Group can be brought to subsidiary liability, but in this case, given the amount of debt, this is unlikely, Panov said. He explains that this is possible if the bankruptcy proceedings of Mega Pharma legal entities begin and the court proves that it was the owners of the Marathon Group that controlled the companies.