The wife of the owner of the largest importer of wine required $ 50 million for divorce

The spouse of the co-owner of the Luding Group of Companies Arthur Varzhapetyan demands assets of 50 million dollars from her husband during the divorce. Lawyers assess the chances of judging a share in the company as unlikely, referring to the established practice of Russian courts.
Origin source
Divorce proceedings involving the assets of the largest importer of wine in Russia, begins in the Dorogomilovsky court in Moscow. Anna Shakhnazarova, the spouse of the co-owner of the Luding group of companies Arthur Varzhapetyan, filed a lawsuit with RBC (for RBC) to dissolve the marriage. The spouses could not agree on the pre-trial division of the assets belonging to the family, said lawyer Shakhnazarova, senior partner of DS LAW Oleg Ponamarev, told RBC.

Anna Shakhnazarova took part in the strategic development of the Luding group, Ponamarev said. "Therefore, in accordance with the Family Code, our principal intends to receive half of the jointly acquired movable and immovable property, as well as half of the shares owned by Arthur Varzhapetyan in all Russian companies of the Luding Group of Companies," Ponamarev said. In the list of property subject to division there are several expensive foreign cars and several real estate objects in Russia, France, Switzerland and the USA. It's about property and shares in the company for more than $ 50 million, the lawyer says.

Established in 1993, GC Luding is the largest importer of wine in Russia (in 2017, it delivered more than 22.8 million liters of wine, or 9.3% of total imports, according to the Federal Customs Service). In large cities of Russia there are 24 branches of the company, in its portfolio - more than 5 thousand brands of alcohol. Reporting of the group for 2017 has not yet been published, following the results of 2016, the revenue of OOO Luding was 11.555 billion rubles. The revenue of its main competitors Mistral Alko in 2016 - 7.35 billion rubles., LLC Simpl company - 9.645 billion rubles., Show the data of SPARC. The co-founders and owners of Luding LLC on an equal footing are Artur Varzhapetyan and Armen Shahazizyan.

In the counter-claim, which was received by Dorogomilovsky court from Arthur Varzhapetyan (RBC), it is said that the plaintiff does not object to the division of movable and immovable property. However, Artur Varzhapetyan requests that he retain the sole ownership of shares in the companies he owns. The division of shares by awarding the wife half of the share in the company will violate the rights of societies, the suit says.

Better with money

In Russian courts, divorce cases usually do not divide the share of companies, said RBC attorney Ekaterina Dukhina. "When acquiring a stake, a person has the opportunity to participate in the management of the company, and since other participants may not want such a shareholder or a founder, the company's activities are violated, it can incur losses, including non-payment of salaries, failure to pay taxes," says the lawyer . According to Dukhina, the courts make decisions on compensation based on estimates of the value of shares or shares that are conducted by an expert institution on the basis of data provided by the company, its assets and existing liabilities.

According to the prevailing practice in Russian courts, compensation for shares in the company is best paid at best, - agrees Alexander Molokhov. "The principle is this: for whom the company is recorded, that should remain the owner, the legal entity must maintain its combat capability, it is unlikely that the spouses can normally manage the business if they are at loggerheads," Molokhov said. He gives an example of the divorce case of billionaire Vladimir Potanin. Natalia Potanina tried to seize from her ex-husband half of his shares in MMC Norilsk Nickel and Interros, but lost the dispute in all instances, including the Supreme Court. Similarly, Elena Mordashova's attempt to seize from the former husband Alexei Mordashov part of Severstal's shares was completed.

Who is bigger

Artur Varzhapetyan assessed his shares in the companies that became the subject of the claim, at 16.8 million rubles. and agrees to pay the defendant half of this amount in cash.

Analyst of the company "Opening a Broker" Timur Nigmatullin based on the data available in SPARK for 2016 estimated the value of GC "Luding" in 1.8-2.3 billion rubles. without taking into account bank debts. This is a conservative estimate of the business; SPARC may not take into account subsidiaries (assets abroad, reserves, related business segments, etc.), the expert notes. The company's report on the work in the past year has not yet been published, but it is known that 2017 was marked by a sharp increase in wine imports against the backdrop of a fall in domestic production. As RBC previously wrote, the total volume of supplies last year increased by almost 40% (to 244.4 million liters). Including, the physical growth of imports by "Luding" in 2017 was 43.5%. It can be assumed that the company's value at the moment is closer to the upper limit given by Nigmatullin - 2.3 billion rubles

Thus, a quarter of the company Anna Shakhnazarova is trying to convict costs about 575 million rubles or $ 9.3 million at the current rate (excluding the cost of personal personal and personal property of the family).

Vadim Drobiz, head of the Center for Federal and Regional Alcohol Markets, believes that even in the case of a court decision in favor of Shakhnazarova, the position of Luding as the largest importer will not change: the wife of Varzhapetyan is interested in preserving the company and will not insist on dividing the business, the expert believes.

Attempts by RBC to contact Artur Varzhapetyan or his lawyers did not bring any results. RBC sent a request to the GC "Luding" with a request to confirm the fact of the divorce and the division of property. Anna Shakhnazarova was responsible for external communications, in particular she was the editor-in-chief of the corporate magazine, but for three years she has not worked for the company, a source close to the management of the Luding Group of Companies said. "The company does not discuss divorce proceedings," the source said.