Recently, various rumors have appeared in the media about the situation at IzhAvto. It is only known for certain that the enterprise is bankrupt, and it has the largest debt to Sberbank. We asked Anton Karamzin, Deputy Chairman of the Management Board of Sberbank of Russia, to share information.
- Anton Alexandrovich, is it true that a lawsuit has been instituted against the former owner of the IzhAvto automobile plant - the SOK group of companies - at the suit of Sberbank? It is alleged that SOK fraudulently withdrew assets, including accounts receivable, as well as finished cars in the amount of more than two thousand units.
- In the third quarter of 2009, a criminal case was opened on the fact of “deliberate bankruptcy of the enterprise”. The investigation is not completed, so it’s too early to draw conclusions. The investigation and the court will figure out whether there was a fraud or not.
- And yet, the head of Sberbank German Gref in one of the interviews said that scammers left people and took out assets. Is there any confirmation to this?
- There are facts. The assets were really withdrawn, the company was left with debts that it could not service.
- And, nevertheless, you are not abandoning IzhAvto, you are trying to somehow reanimate …
- To date, we have developed a strategy for organizing automobile production on the territory of IzhAvto. After all, the car factory was one of the city-forming enterprises of Izhevsk, providing about 8% of the GDP of the Udmurt Republic and up to 16% of employment in the city. IzhAvto was one of the leading Russian automakers with a production volume of up to 80 thousand cars per year, among the first to switch to industrial assembly of foreign cars. They actually went through the full production cycle: assembly, stamping, body painting. And about 5.5 thousand people worked there.
- And in May 2009 production was stopped …
- And after the introduction of the bankruptcy procedure, the number of employees was reduced from 5, 000 to 2, 000, and the rest was sent on vacation.
- Was production resumed in August this year?
- Yes, and by the time of its launch, we had ensured the safety of the equipment and maintaining it in working condition.
Lineup and future plans
- Tell us in more detail which models you plan to produce at IzhAvto?
- All the numbering personnel of the enterprise were recalled from holidays and the production of domestic cars VAZ-2104 and IZH-27175 ("heels") was resumed, in November it is planned to launch the VAZ-2107 model.
- In September, Vladimir Putin and German Gref visited the car factory, and they were presented with a promising lineup: KIA Cerato and KIA Sorento New, as well as Hyundai small and medium trucks. What can you say about this?
- We were in negotiations between the Chairman of the Government and the head of the Hyundai-Kia concern near St. Petersburg at the launch of the new Hyundai automobile plant, where we agreed on cooperation. Now negotiations are underway about the technical features of this project and a specific discussion of models. For the company to be profitable, volumes must be at least 200–250 thousand cars per year. And not old, but new models. In general, negotiations are ongoing not only with Hyundai, but also with other manufacturers, we are open to suggestions.
But we, first of all, are financiers and bankers - there is the general director of our company “United Automobile Group”, which conducts these negotiations.
- What kind of enterprise is this?
- We created a new company to resume production in IzhAvto - the United Automobile Group (OAS). It is 99.9% owned by Sberbank. The OAS General Director is Igor Kulgan. This is a strong manager with experience in implementing anti-crisis programs, and also able to carry out large-scale projects from scratch.
- And what about the debt?
- To date, the debt of the enterprise is 13.5 billion rubles. Of these, 8.5 billion. rub. - debt to Sberbank. There is nothing to pay IzhAvto, therefore the property of the plant will most likely be put up for auction, their date has not yet been set. If the OAS wins during the bidding, Sberbank itself will issue a loan for the purchase of the enterprise.