Svyaznoy miscalculated: why Maxim Nogotkov lost half of business

Founder of the Svyaznoy group of companies Maxim Nogotkov spent more than 20 years trying to get into the list of the richest Russian businessmen. The descent from the summit took much less time: in a year Nogotkov reached the verge of bankruptcy.
Origin source
RBC understood - what a business has created the youngest of the major Russian businessmen, and why he had to leave half of it.

Two weeks ago, Marigold has lost half of the assets, shares of retailers Unsubscribe "The Messenger" and Enter your creditors - ONEXIM Group and NPF "Welfare". For two weeks from 10 November Messenger Bank survived the flight of investors: in the amount of his clients took more than 10 billion rubles, or a quarter of all deposits..

Now the entrepreneur is looking for partners to help it keep afloat bank and conducts advocacy on the situation in the connected bank with securities supervisors.

The question - what will he do when he finds money - Marigold says: "cry" and bursts out laughing.

Closest to his office meeting room in the office of the "Messenger" companies is called "optimism". And Nogotkov not refuse in the ability to maintain it. About the companies that will go to creditors, he is forgetting continues to argue, as their own, and still believes the majority of the "Messenger" successful projects. Is it really?
<br /> 10% and no "stars"

"Optimists like me, to the bankers it is better not to go," - grins Marigold. Engage in financial services, he decided in 2006, when he realized that "to build another store" The Messenger "it has no interest." At that time, his network was in second place among the competitors, and there were already about 400 outlets, the Group's turnover amounted to approximately $ 1.8 billion.

What a special experience in the banking business in Nogotkova was not, therefore, initially to build a financial plan he was going with partners - "daughter" of the American GE Money Bank and "KIT Finance" Alexander Vinokurov. The size of the necessary investments in the bank Marigold is estimated at $ 50 million. Vinokourov was ready to invest $ 80 million in "SvyaznoyKredit" financial broker project in exchange for a share of 50%. With Nogotkova owed his "experience in retail, the enthusiasm, the brand and, of course, in terms of sales." Together, they intend to sell credits to Ji-And-Money Bank and deposits, pension funds and investment products China. "With this going to take off, and then - to connect other partner banks», & ndash; Marigold explains.

But it all went wrong. In the midst of the financial meltdown in 2008, Americans were quick to fold business in Russia. A "KIT Finance", where Marigold even had a few months to work the head of the retail division, did not survive the crisis, has been sanitized and left under the control of Russian Railways.

After two failures Marigold decided that he would do the bank and bought Promtorgbank - rather, it traded 7.8 percent stake in "The Messenger" retail network. The sellers were the partners owner "OMZ" Kakha Bendukidze. Together with the construction of a new bank Nogotkova engaged former GE Money Bank Chief Financial Officer in Russia Michael Thach (now - the general director of the group of companies "The Messenger").

How to break into the tight circle of retail banks? Marigold chose clear, but expensive way: to offer favorable conditions for the people. Interest on bank loans had to be slightly less than the competition, and on deposits - a little more. "The Messenger" was to follow the global trend - go as far as possible, by cash payments. "Mobilitys payments - it's convenient, and we have invested a lot of money to the platform, payment systems, online banking and IT », - Marigold is convinced that the future of this model.

However, the fact that the owner called a "bank for the people", citizens perceived as a "freebie" categorical current head of the bank's liaison Eugene Davidovich. The first time a bank card issued free of charge: "Maxim was sharply opposed to getting people to pay for them, most of the cards had not been used," - says a top manager.

With a light hand Nogotkova all customers initially received "bonus" - 10% on balances on the cards. Davidovich believed that a high percentage should be given only to those who make a lot of transactions. "But Max says:" Russian Standard "- 10%, and we will have the same number, and that no" stars "in advertising," - recalls the "liaison" a former top manager: but the same "Russian Standard" and "stars", and footnotes were just.

Nogotkova approach proved, though expensive, but effective. At the start of the bank, according to his wordsI am growing up "too well", giving 5 th. cards a day (today as issued in the month). In 2011 the portfolio of credit cards has grown from virtually zero to 13.8 billion rubles. The bank's assets at year-end amounted to 38.1 billion rubles.

"We swung because everything looked very rosy," - says Marigold. The bank grew faster than expected, and the management suggested that this rate will continue for several years. That is why Marigold decided to invest in the bank project "much better" than expected at the start. Total investment in the development of coherent Bank, on the business plan, increased to $ 400 million. The first profit of the bank, according to Nogotkova, was to receive in 2014. Two of his former managers say that the plan to zero bank had to leave in 2012, and by 2014 th profit should grow to 6-8 billion rubles.

Money Marigold took from his own "big purse" - a holding company Trellas Enterprises. In the "wallet", he said, were the dividends from retail projects - more than $ 150 million received for the project to create a retail network for MTS prepaid to MULTIof years forward contracts with cellular operators.

By the end of 2012 Marigold put it in the bank almost 11.7 billion rubles. in the form of loans, financial aid and payment for additional shares, it follows from the bank's IFRS statements. By mid-2014 this amount increased to 14.8 billion rubles.

"Max wanted to overtake Sberbank, he wanted to grow even faster, and we have considered cowardly and incapable of rapid growth," - says a former liaison Bank top manager. Marigold did not deny that he was a supporter of rapid development, and thought that his team is acting too cautiously.

Banks while giving him loans very easily - a success story "The Messenger" and "simply because Maxim done," says businessman familiar. "The amounts that we took, seemed adequate background on the company's valuation" - retorted Marigold. In 2012, he was going to hold IPO network "The Messenger" by selling shares for $ 500 million. For the investment banks deal valued the company at $ 2 billion, says the entrepreneur (about the history of "The Messenger" read incision below).

"Do not be afraid, we must grow"

IPO had to be canceled - because of the threat of default in Greece in 2012, the markets were closed. And then the company itself has ceased to grow at the pace that we would like to "sell" to investors. Fall rates - the result of the war with mobile operators. After the "Euroset" moved "Vympelcom" and "Megaphone", these operators are doing everything possible to "kill us", believes Marigold. Having its own retail, they began to close contracts with independent network.

Then, "The Messenger" has learned to sell other services, and the bank in this greatly helped convinced Marigold: currently revenue "The Messenger" by financial services and services by 70% more than from the mobile operators.

But the bank itself and the rate at which it grew, cost is very expensive undertaking.

At the end of 2010, on deposit accounts of individuals and the bank was less than 3 billion rubles by the end of 2012 -. 56 billion rubles. The sharp rise in "The Messenger" has not escaped the attention of the Bank of Russia. Then the regulator was concerned that inflated the bubble in the retail lending market. To start Messenger Bank received several letters of recommendation of the Central Bank with a proposal to confineit rates fundraising citizens. But these signals nobody paid attention. "Do not be afraid, it is necessary to grow" - perceived as the Central Bank warning the bank's management, recalls his former top manager. And the Central Bank moved to action and gave not a recommendation, and regulations that restrict the growth of deposits of 1% in December 2012 in a month.

The portfolio of loans to individuals liaison bank at that time amounted to 43 billion rubles, the reserves -. Only 5.1 billion rubles. "We were selected for the reserves to 12%, and it has been dangerous, had to slow down," - said the former bank manager.

The action of the Central Bank regulations ended after six months, but by the time "The Messenger" has already started to slow down naturally.

Marigold himself explains it this way. When the bank started, salaries of people grew by 12% year on year, and the loan burden was low. But the growth of incomes of citizens stopped and the volume of loans, which they hung on became threatening. "Retail banks are beginning to lay" - said Marigold. They had to create additional reserves for bad debts. Growing reserves have started to catch up, and St.heat the pot. At the end of 2013 they reached 13.5 billion rubles., And it was almost 30% of the loan portfolio.

The Central Bank has made, that the owners of the banks began to leave twice as much money on capital formation, states Marigold. But the claims of the regulator is not an entrepreneur: the Central Bank acted correctly.

At the end of 2013 the bank showed Messenger is not profit, but a loss of 2.5 billion rubles. In the first half of 2014 the bank lost another 3.8 billion rubles.

"We are now paying for the euphoria that we and consumers felt in 2011-2012," - recognizes Davidovich.

Marigold hoped that wealthy Muscovites, who walk in his salons, will borrow and regularly pay them, thinking co-owner of TCS Bank Oleg Tinkoff. Premium audience really goes to salons "The Messenger", but they do not take out loans, explains the error Tinkoff competitor. The duty of taking the same contingent that in all other banks. "A Coherent bank with its tariff policy [of low interest rates on loans and high deposit] hit the scissors", - says Tinkoff.

Life is short

Parallel Marigold ran all new projects, each of which was supposed to shoot for a few years. Why so much and so quickly? "Life is short" - explains the 37-year-old entrepreneur.

In his piggy bank network was Pandora, which he led in Russia by the Danish franchise of the same name jewelry network; Internet retailer Enter, copying British Argos (hybrid trading on-line, off-line and paper catalogs), and several startups, including Israeli and British TVzor VisualDNA project.

It was like a race for a short distance, on the side of which has not remained and the network "The Messenger": in 2011, the retailer opened 850 new stores, spending on this about 2 billion rubles. The new points were opened at the expense of equity, and the loans went to the "shareholder projects", - says Michael Thach.

Startups Nogotkova demanding more and more resources. By the end of 2013 the businessman was "zakreditovan" no less than the customers of his bank. Its debt exceeded one billion dollars: $ 561 million owed Trellas, another $ 471 million - a trading network, Forbes wrote. In the spring of 2014 these debts tobavilos another $ 400 million loan from Sberbank secured by shares of CJSC "Panklub" (Pandora operates franchise). In many ways personal loans guarantee Nogotkova acted.

A former employee of a major counterparty Enter says that when he saw the new online store plans, was impressed by their ambition. In the Enter Marigold has invested about $ 300 million to bring the project into anticipated profits in just three years. "There have been speed and dynamics, which had the market did not show - says the source of RBC. - They were comparable to the frantic pace of the online gaming industry. "

"From the beginning we have built the largest player in the Russian online retail," - says Marigold. How? Including at the expense of beautiful and convenient points of issue of the goods. In this case managers urging Nogotkova that you need to develop the Enter key on the existing network infrastructure, "The Messenger" - its logistics and IT-facilities. Thach recalls that more than once argued about this with Nogotkova. But he did not agree: "Startups are dying in large companies. For large companies like Enter the project - the distant and bright future to which not every top-meedzher plans to live. Everything is new should be independent and should not depend on large structures. "

Enter revenue rose in 2013 by nearly 140% and exceeded 7.3 billion rubles. But the company did not become profitable. While monthly Marigold forced to invest in this project is 300 million rubles. A business plan is not carried out more than once revised. In 2013, in the Enter began reducing, and Marigold started looking for a co-investor.

"Black Monday"

Besides negotiating "optimism" in the office Nogotkova there are two meeting rooms called "mandatory" and "responsibility". When money began to run out, and creditors had to repay debts, Marigold decided to sell part of the business. Since mid-2013, he held talks with all those for whom its assets could be of interest. Among the potential buyers were Leonard Blavatnik, ONEXIM Mikhail Prokhorov, AFK "Sistema" Vladimir Yevtushenko, and others.

Closest to the deal came with Marigold ONEKSIM - together they were going to develop the network and "The Messenger" and the eponymous bank.But the talks collapsed - summed up the "macroeconomics, then the Crimea", - said Marigold. It was only in November 2014 revealed that the businessman had failed to take from the partner bridge loan of 6 billion rubles. The key for him was controlling stake Trellas shares.

Marigold until recently believed that pay off ONEKSIM. But an end to these plans to put the arrest of Vladimir Yevtushenko, which Marigold virtually agreed to sell 30-50% of the network "The Messenger", based on the evaluation of the entire company at about 30 billion rubles.

In the autumn of 2014 to find a new buyer was already folly: the owners of the banks and companies a headache on where to get the money himself. Foreign markets were closed due to the sanctions, just so no one nobody gave credit, and certainly it was not an investment.

"Black Monday," the banker Nogotkova arrived on 10 November. The newspaper "Kommersant" reported that "The Messenger" has delayed the payment of the debt ONEKSIM. Through the media learned about the default and investors Messenger Bank. A few days later they learned from him 7 billion rubles for two weeks -. In the amount of 10 billion rubles.

But &laquo; The Messenger "resisted. "We have built a bulletproof bank", - explains one of his former top managers. The model pledge, the bank is able to withstand 30% of the outflow of deposits for the month. Marigold confirms these data. "We focused on the experience of different banks, emerging from the outflow of depositors, and take into account that the bank Messenger - the young, and its main source of funds are deposits," - he says.

In a crisis a week from 10 to 14 November this saved the bank, I'm sure Davidovich. According to him, since the beginning of the flight of depositors of the bank has lost 25% of deposits. When the acute phase has passed, Davidovich gathered all the employees of the bank and gave a speech to 40 minutes - the longest in his life. He says that colleagues read out a passage from the book of Arthur Hailey "money-changers", where it was just about the banking panic. "The only right decision in this situation would continue to give money to people, and I decided that we would do it to the last ruble", - says Davidovich. Who stopped the outflow of deposits, he said.

Marigold at the time was busy negotiating with DEWSim - we discussed the situation with the default three days. The owner of "The Messenger" asked for a postponement, but did not receive it. On account of ONEXIM debt and "Welfare" took "The Messenger" and Enter. Lenders would take only profitable assets, but has appeared in Enter the deal because both projects are better developed in parallel.

Color nation

All recent days Marigold feverishly continues to look for money. He claims that have already found a partner to help with the bank, but no details are not disclosed. Two familiar businessman said that while he was able to attract only a subordinated loan of 600 million rubles. This will enable the bank to feel relaxed even "a few months", says one of them. Marigold confirmed RBC loan size, but on the other declined to comment.

But what if these partnership talks, like many others before, run anything? Reserve "parachute" in Nogotkova not.

The only asset that now brings him a profit - is Pandora.

When the businessman agreed with the Danes on a five-year franchise, he has, by his ownriznaniyu was only a general understanding of the market and the size of "a superficial understanding of the Russian women's preferences." But now in Russia under the brand Pandora operates more than 130 monobrand "Pankluba" stores and about hundreds of partner outlets. According to the businessman, EBITDA of the project - about $ 80 million a year, and the investment in it were half that.

But profits jewelry network is not enough for you to capitalize the bank and serve the Sberbank loan, recognize Marigold.

Pot-entrepreneur partnership offered Tinkoff, Mikail Shishkhanov, Rustam Tariq, sources told RBC (Marigold himself is not commenting). Founder of "The Messenger" believes that the purchase of a stake in his bank - a great opportunity for a short time to get up to 10% on the retail market of unsecured lending. But all applicants interested primarily in terms of sales of bank products - network salons "The Messenger", says the failed buyer (according to "The Messenger", we now have a network of 3100 outlets in 900 cities across the country). When the bank and the network belong to different owners, there is a riskthat the network owner or expel it from the bank or raise the commission so that the market will be unprofitable, the source continues RBC. Marigold says that one of the conditions of the transaction with ONEKSIM - a six-year contract for the sale of bank products in the salons of the network "The Messenger". While this contract, as well as all transactions on networks, "The Messenger" and Enter is not closed, the source said in ONEXIM. Both sides of a large number of delay explained technical details.

For the future, the bank's liaison observers fit bet. Potential interested parties of the asset "for the eye" say that without state aid the bank can not do. Marigold about it even does not want to hear: "For reasons of reorganization of the bank was not, and no" "We really do not have a bank liaison holes in the capital and there is no gap in liquidity," - said General Director of "Expert RA" Paul Samiev.. "But the bank is losing money every month - throws up his hands Tinkoff This man riding a roller coaster, his path is clear."

But whatever the path at the moment, "such as marigolds - the color of the nation, and a bankruptcy possibilityOh, a lot of useful to pass ", shared his opinion with RBC head of Sberbank German Gref.

Capture markets: Maxim Marigold created "Euroset" competitor

"In 16 years, I was disappointed in the production of" - so begins the story of Marigold create a network of "The Messenger". "Production" was the fact that the student Marigold buy radio market Mitino on imported spare parts for telephones, collected from their phones with caller ID and sold the finished product in the same market. But complaints about the quality of the product was so much that he decided to do away with the assembly. In 1990 on this business and student "could make turns," laughs the president of "M.Video" Alexander Tynkovan: "To make these phones, almost did not need the money: simple board and the screen for the determinant. Sign into this business could anyone, and the entrance fee is minimal. "

Next Marigold describes the canonical story of how he was selling calculators, audio players, and cordless phones. Starting from one point on the radio market Mitino, for several years he was "captured" and other sites where MoS. Skweyiya in the mid-1990s, a booming trade - Konkovo ​​market on the Prague and, of course, Gorbushka. To tent his wholesale and retail distributor of "Maxus", "How to Fish Market" at 4 am came from wholesalers regions.

The Russian concern a Phillips Manager, in charge of personal technology and accessories, according to Nogotkova, he found it on the radio market Mitino. Through an acquaintance, he made his first direct contract for wholesale purchases from foreign manufacturers - the following was already easier. By 2000, when mobile phones dropped to $ 300 and sold in full on the Top crust, Marigold decided to expand the range. Helped contract for home phones Siemens. The Russian mobile market in the German group was 35%. Marigold arranged for distribution of popular mobile phones and later won contracts with Motorola (20% of the market), and other brands.

Bauman Institute he threw, dropouts, back in 1995: "I earned then $ 10 000 per month, as a programmer, to which I was - only $ 300, and still had four years to go to college."

For direct Dogsproof operation, the supply of foreign manufacturers Marigold flew to New York, Amsterdam, Singapore. Beautiful shops, interesting shop windows - after seeing Marigold also decided to develop retail. The first store under the brand name "The Messenger" it opened in 2001. Name invented himself, so that the development of the brand in a symbolic cost $ 3000. Last public assessment of the brand - $ 140 million.

Competitors "Messenger" at the start were "Technical", Dixis, "Anarion" and, of course, "Euroset" Evgeny Chichvarkin. "We had all the catch - they have been for hundreds of points - said Marigold. - The "Messenger" - 80 ". Business did not go at once: "By December 2002, I have spent on the development of" The Messenger "all of their $ 40 million, but the retail network continued to incur losses, and I thought to close it, - says entrepreneur. - But by some miracle, sales began to grow by 30% year on year, and we have finally reached a plus. "

The dumping wars and the struggle for outlets with "Euroset" Chichvarkin "The Messenger" has grown to several hundred stores. "But we have always been less aggressive," Eurosets "then bought a" Technical "raked everything she could on the market, we were afraid to move so quickly." "By 2008, the crisis of" Euroset "was more than $ 800 million of debt, we approached him with almost zero debt," - said Marigold.

There are no special secrets in the competition in "The Messenger" was not, he says, "a little more shops and cleaner and a little more pleasant staff."

Unlike Chichvarkin Marigold did business carefully and dispensed with the scandals with the customs service, because of which his rival was forced to sell the business and flee the country. Marigold did not hide the fact that the problem also had his company - like all the "Messenger" at the time of selling the goods, which could deliver in the country "in the gray."

When in 2007, "The Messenger" was exhibited tax claims, Marigold also did not make a fuss. After a series of tests assessed additional FTS "Messenger" for more than 3 billion rubles. for the unpaid VAT. "It was half the value of the company in the hands of our kind of money was not even close," - said Marigold. "The Messenger" tGDS was under the hand is not one - "demonstrative flogging" was arranged several major vendors, recalls Marigold, although he admits that the tax claims were well founded. To pay, "The Messenger" began bankruptcy of its structure, which was engaged in the supply of equipment. "Reteyl we have kept, deliveries were transferred to another company, and this - the beginning of the legal proceedings with tax authorities", - the businessman said. Managed to seize a little, recent debts, the company paid a few years ago.