Yogurt substitution: how the former development director of "Wimm-Bill-Dann" started to produce light bulbs

Perhaps there would be no production, if PepsiCo did not agree to purchase Wimm-Bill-Dann in 2010. Denis Frolov started to think that if he had experience in plant modernization and preparation of new projects, why not to try to open his own business?
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"We jumped in the last car," - says co-owner of "Wharton" Denis Frolov, standing at the conveyor lines. During the day the plant produces 5,000 LED lamps. Frolov and his partner Ilya Sivtsev launched production Bogoroditsk in May 2013 and had to expand capacity up to three times a catastrophic devaluation of the ruble in 2014. While the equipment was mounted, businessmen sitting on pins and needles: take out a loan to make payments to suppliers or enough of its working capital? In general, they have invested in the company about 1 billion rubles. Its revenues in 2015 reached 1.3 billion rubles, or 40% of the turnover of the group of companies "Wharton", begins with the import of tubes from China.

Perhaps no production and did not appear, though in 2010, PepsiCo has not agreed to the purchase of "Wimm-Bill-Dann". Denis Frolov, more than seven years at the company, which has grown from investanalitika development director. Learning about the negotiations with PepsiCo, he wondered, in the decisions to be clearly less under the new superiors of independence. If there is a plant modernization experience and preparation of new projects, why not try to open itsbusiness?

When purchasing lighting systems for food production, Denis noted that growing demand for LED lamps in the world. In Russia, they had just started to be sold, but the demand will inevitably be formed here. Frolov seemed to understand the mechanism of LED products sales he can easily: light bulbs - goods of daily demand, as juices and yogurts. The last argument was a discussion in the State Duma of the law "On Energy Saving" (adopted in November 2009) for him.

"I'm used to being on the trends of consumption of milk or juice can be found in Nielsen reports. And then I had to trust the feeling that the light-emitting diodes - a huge new trend ", - says the businessman.

Feeling confirmed Matthew Leshchev, co-founder of "Steel-Light" that sold lamps General Electric and under its own brand Selecta. He even agreed to enter into a share. Sales Manager "Style-Light" Ilya Sivtsev advised to book in China compact-fluorescent lamps, which are also forced out incandescent bulbs, but LEDs are cheaper.

Start cost Frolov 40 million pyBley. Half amount gave the sale of two flats in Nizhniy Novgorod, inherited inherited. I had to get into loans. On the advice of Sivtseva he came up with a brand Gauss chose for their lamps black boxes to stand out on the shelves with colorful packages competitors. From August to November 2009, Frolov brought to Moscow three containers with CFL lamps. Sivtsev at that time created a trading firm, engaged in electronics and at the same time has become a distributor of Gauss.

When Frolov ordered a fourth container, the entire batch was sold out even before the arrival of the warehouse. The margin was 40% or more. But by the end of winter 2010, it became clear that the import of CFL lamps in Russia come from dozens of companies and there is a risk that the sale of the "Wharton" could stand. In April, after visiting the exhibition in China, Frolov and Sivtsev stuck in the hotel - from the eruption of an Icelandic volcano planes did not fly to Moscow. Almost a week in the evenings they discussed business issues, we decided to come together and engage in light-emitting diode lamps (LED). Frolov has already parted with bream, buying the share, and the new owner of "Wharton" became its distributor. "Consumers learn about the opportunities oftyah save electricity, waiting for innovations in lighting solutions. We had to catch the wave "- explains Sivtsev.

The first container with LED-lamps partners brought in July 2010. By the end of the year sales rose to 15 million rubles a month, the company has entered into profit. For 2012, "Wharton" earned about 1 billion rubles. "We always knew that as soon as the revolution will allow, we will build our own production. There was a feeling that "so right", - said Frolov. On its site partners wanted in the first place to produce the lamp for office, retail and industrial buildings and street lighting - it is more profitable. Their customers require flexibility in the timing and volume of deliveries, it is not easy to provide when importing.

In November 2012, the owners of "Wharton" bought the abandoned factory of agricultural machinery Bogoroditsk Tula region. In view of the repair area cost them 250 million rubles. The same three years was spent on the creation of the laboratory, the development of the model range and marketing. The former manager of "Wimm-Bill-Dann" admits: "I thought that turned out useful priemchiKey equipment manufacturing. Nothing like this! Well, he knew with whom to consult - it was a lot of friends in engineering companies in Europe and Russia. "

Partners have created a separate brand Varton and refused to direct sales to corporate customers - dealers operate actively, when they know that the manufacturer is not the client will withdraw. But the "Wharton" helps dealers in the tenders to be involved in the design of lighting systems, provides fixtures for testing. The production line, which invested 500 million rubles have already been downloaded half a design capacity of 300,000 tubes per month. If the profitability of products from China after the dollar appreciation has dropped to a few percent, then released in the Tula region of 30-40%. The share of sales in the CIS countries and Europe have "Wharton" rose to 7% in 2015. The company even opened an export office in Turin.

"Market Driver LED-lamps in Russia - the real sector companies, the management of which is able to consider the economy and state-owned companies - indicates Yuri MACH, commercial director of LED equipment manufacturer & laquo; ICE-effect. " - The owners of the apartments do not have a high motivation. Good light bulbs are expensive, with low electricity tariffs, they do not pay off quickly. " Corporate LED solutions market segment grew by 13% in 2015, while home - fell by 30-35% (data "Lighting Business Consulting" and the non-commercial partnership based on these LED manufacturers and systems - NP MSS). According to Evgeny Dolin, General Director of the MSS, a new risk for manufacturers LED-lamps for the mass market are filament bulbs, which appeared about a year ago. They LED filament within the bulb, and they are cheaper than conventional LED-lamps 30-40%. "What will be the outcome of the competition already in LED technology, it is difficult to say" - he concluded.

But according to analysts' Lighting Business Consulting ", the LEDs 2020 will win 83% of the Russian lighting market, which will increase in the amount of up to $ 3.7 billion." Wharton "calculates the share of 15%. Its owners are hoping that in a few years the corporate segment will return to the 50% growth per year, and consumer - to pre-crisis 15%.

The "Bartona "now has its own design center - 20 full-time employees and student interns. Their forces, for example, are designed for lighting the route Moscow - St. Petersburg, which can be placed on a standing far from each other lamps. However, they consume 30% less energy and is cheaper than other LED solutions. Without its own designers, "Wharton" could not cope with the supply of LED facade of the GUM department store. Three months it took to create light bulbs that do not absorb moisture, worked in the cold to -60 ° C and heat up to + 60 ° C (just such a range has appointed engineer GUM), but still would emit a soft yellow light without spoiling the appearance of the Red area.

"You always want to after many years of work at night and fast pace to find the protected harbor, exhale, - says Ilya Sivtsev. - But we have a market that is no time to stop. "