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Maximum Group of Companies strengthens its presence in the container segment

article from the website https://www.rzd-partner.ru/

GC "Maximum" owns and manages approximately 10 thousand units of rolling stock of various types. Consolidated revenue is about 10 billion rubles per year. And although the difficulties of the last two years have somewhat reduced the pace of development of the company, it is not only restoring its position, but also plans to increase the growth rate. 

This was told to us by Nikolai Falin, the owner of Maximum Group of Companies.

– Nikolay Anatolyevich, what results does Maximum Group of Companies expect from 2021?  

– We are very optimistic about 2021. Our plans are to increase the rolling stock fleet in ownership, leasing and operational management by about 20-25%. Consolidated revenue of the group of companies will grow, as we hope, a little stronger – by 25-30%. The profitability of the work of specialized rolling stock is kept at an acceptable level. At the same time, the main items of our expenses – servicing the loan portfolio, repairing cars and providing them with spare parts – have a clear downward trend. In this regard, we reasonably believe that the profitability of our business will return to comfortable pre-pandemic values. A confident look into the future allows us to plan a significant investment program in order to strengthen our presence in the most promising segments of the logistics services market for us.

– You manage fleets of grain carriers, timber carriers, container and universal platforms. What key trends and expectations can be identified in these market segments? Is it possible to predict that container shipments will continue to grow rapidly, as in 2020?

 – You are right, all market participants are waiting for the continuation of the "rally" of container transportation. Including us. There is an obvious growing interest in container shipments both among Russian exporters and from Chinese and European companies. The latter are attracted by the possibilities of rail transit through the territory of the Russian Federation. Today, the pace of development of container transportation is limited only by the capabilities of the infrastructure: the Eastern polygon of Russian Railways and land border crossings with China are working at the limit of their capabilities. But we need to grow further! It is worth noting the stable growth rates of the cargo base in the transportation of grain and forest cargo. Grain loading in 2020 has increased by almost 30%, it's just incredible! The loading of forest cargo decreased slightly (-3%), but if we evaluate the dynamics over the past five years, then there is a steady growth. We see how customers from these sectors of the economy invest significant funds year after year in expanding their production capabilities, mainly with an eye to export. And GC "Maximum" is in a hurry to follow the demand, investing in the development of its transportation capabilities.

– What is the investment program of the Maximum Group of Companies primarily focused on?  

– The container business is at the forefront of our business today. The signing of a deal on the acquisition of several hundred container platforms will be completed in a few days, this project is financed by VTB Leasing. In parallel, we are developing a separate terminal direction – pre-design work is underway in 2 locations where we have planned to build new container terminals. I hope that by the middle of the year we will have something to brag about in terms of implementation dates and specific parameters of these new enterprises. Our deal on the acquisition of innovative grain carriers manufactured by the Tikhvin Grain Processing Plant continues – several hundred wagons have already been received, and we will soon discuss with the car builders the continuation of cooperation. This transaction is financed by the Otkritie Banking Group, with whom we implemented a number of similar transactions back in 2020 and outlined plans for 2021.

– How did the corporate conflict that arose in 2019 in LLC "Railway Assets" between you and a former shareholder of the company affect the development of the company? Can it be considered fully resolved?  

– Of course, this conflict has affected the activities of the Maximum Group of Companies. First of all, on the pace of our development. On the part of LLC "Railway Assets", long-term lease agreements for rolling stock that was under the operational management of GC "Maximum" were terminated. As a result, our working fleet has decreased by about 20% (we have already partially replenished it from the market), dozens of interrelated lawsuits have arisen (GC "Maximum" against "Railway Assets" and vice versa) for hundreds of millions of rubles. 

Currently, this conflict is already over. But there is still a lot of work to be done to eliminate its consequences, including the completion of all judicial economic processes in the Russian Federation, and the rolling stock that we lost from our management in 2019 is returning "home": to our routes and to our customers.

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