German Obi will sell its business in Russia

German Obi GmbH is entrusting its Russian business chain Obi to the founder of the Audit Group consulting group and Cesar Consulting law firm Boris Lyuboshitsa. This was reported to Vedomosti by Dmitry Galantsev, a partner at the Propositum law firm, which is involved in the deal on behalf of Obi. A representative of Cesar Consulting confirmed this information.

Galantsev clarifies that in the future the retailer’s business in Russia will be transferred to a Russian investor, who will develop the company in the country, most likely with the gradual abandonment of the Obi trademark. Neither he nor the representative of “Cesar Consulting” called him. They only clarified that Luboschitz represents the interests of the German holding and a potential buyer in this deal. Vedomosti sent a request to Obi GmbH and the Russian office of Obi.

A shareholder of the network has decided to sell stores in Russia to an investor while maintaining the company’s activities and jobs, said a source close to Lyuboshitsa. As a trustee, he will conduct the due diligence of the retailer, verify its reporting, inventory of assets, and later – draw up a strategic and financial development plan to pull it out of losses. In 2020, the legal entity Obi in Russia with a total revenue of about 47.8 billion rubles. received 2.3 billion rubles. net loss. Last year, according to Infoline, revenue amounted to 41.8 billion rubles, and net loss – 2.5 billion rubles. The deal between Obi GmbH and Luboszyce has yet to be approved by the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS). Galantsev says that the relevant petition will be sent soon.

The Obi chain started operating in Russia in 2003. Initially, it was a Russian-German joint venture, in which 49% was owned by businessman Igor Sosin (he also developed the Hottabych home goods chain, Modi stationery stores and Modis clothing stores). He later sold his stake in the business to a German concern, the deal was valued at 10 billion rubles, making OBI GmbH the majority owner, and minority shares are owned by other companies from the same holding. At the beginning of 2022, the network included 27 hypermarkets with about 4,900 employees.

Obi’s Russian management has previously tried to negotiate with Obi GmbH to buy its business in Russia or take it into trust, two sources close to the company said earlier. But there was a corporate conflict between them. The main structure after the start of the military operation in Ukraine demanded the closure of all stores in the country. The management of the network tried to prevent this, but the shareholder of the retailer turned off the IT system in the office, shops and warehouses, which made the work of outlets impossible. Later, the company’s employees announced the installation of alternative software in their profile telegram channel. Infoline CEO Ivan Fedyakoi even predicted that there would be a “self-capture of business by management” and “nationalization from within.”

Luboszyc has experience in participating in the resolution of corporate conflicts. A year earlier, he had held the position of trust manager at Natura Siberica for several months. At that time, representatives of most of the heirs of the company’s founder Andrei Trubnikov accused him and his company of trying to seize the group’s business by force. He, in turn, said that management refuses to provide access to documents necessary for audit and due diligence. On July 2, following a change of trust manager, the LjuboĊĦica law firm filed a number of lawsuits against Natura Siberica legal entities, but all of them were terminated or denied, according to a database of arbitration courts.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.