Sberbank is suing Krasnoyarsk Internet operator for 1.8 billion rubles

Sberbank is suing Krasnoyarsk Internet operator for 1.8 billion rubles     
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Sberbank collects from the Krasnoyarsk Internet operator Strizh, associated with one of the largest satellite communications operators in Russia, JSC Design Bureau Iskra, about 2 billion rubles. The bank intends to demand bankruptcy Swift. As follows from the materials of the court, the company Strizh was a guarantor for the obligations of CB Iskra to Sberbank. Market experts do not exclude that Iskra accumulated debts during its active growth in the market.

Sberbank filed a claim with the Arbitration Court of the Krasnoyarsk Territory to recover more than 1.8 billion rubles from Strizh LLC. The application has not yet been accepted by the court for consideration. I couldn’t reach the director of Striz Andrey Romulov. Sberbank declined to comment.

In 2015, Iskra announced the launch of the federal Internet operator Strizh to promote the company's satellite communications services in the b2c segment. The launch of the new trademark of Iskra Design Bureau JSC took place as part of the rebranding of the main activities of the enterprise, then the design bureau said. Stryzh LLC, registered in 2018, is 100% owned by Evgeny Makienko. In 2018, the company's revenue reached 90.8 million rubles, net profit of 35.8 million rubles. The franchise Internet operator has the trademark Strizh, Kommersant was informed by the Iskra Design Bureau JSC. Spark itself does not provide communication services to customers in the mass market, Kommersant was told in KB, noting that they are connected exclusively with business relations with Strizh. At the same time, according to court materials, Strizh owns 79895 shares of Iskra, or 15.6% of its authorized capital. Strizha CEO Andrei Romulov owns a 7.6% stake in the design bureau, another 9.07% of the Spark belongs to his father, Andrei Romulov, too.

The network of satellite stations of Iskra Design Bureau is one of the largest in Russia: it includes more than 8 thousand stations. Priority areas of activity are satellite communications, the Internet, and IP-telephony. According to SPARK-Interfax, the company's revenue in 2018 amounted to 1.4 billion rubles, net profit of 15.5 million rubles, short-term and long-term liabilities of 2.2 billion rubles. The main owners, in addition to the father and son of the Romulovs and LLC Strizh, Yakov Lisovsky (17.85%) and Valery Bury (5.8%).

According to the materials of the arbitration court, in July this year, Strizh vouched for Iskra in a settlement agreement between the design bureau and Sberbank for 1.8 billion rubles.

Loans to the bank at Iskra appeared in 2017 2018, then the parties entered into seven loan agreements, however, Iskra was unable to service them in full. In March this year, Sberbank filed a lawsuit against KB Iskra to recover 1.8 billion rubles. The bank also filed lawsuits against Yakov Lisovsky and the general director of Strizh, Andrei Romulov, to foreclose on the shares of Iskra, pledged to fulfill loan obligations. In July, Sberbank and Iskra entered into an amicable agreement under which Iskra committed to repay all debt to the bank until January 5, 2021. Moreover, installments were provided to the debtor only 64 million rubles. and for 1.5 years. The main debt amount is 1.68 billion rubles. KB should be returned in January 2021. According to the terms of the agreement, the bank has the right to demand from the guarantors an early repayment of the full amount of the debt in case of improper fulfillment of the terms of the settlement agreement. In addition, the bank announced its intention to file for bankruptcy Swift.

In Iskra Design Bureau, they say that the debt to Sberbank was transferred to the company by inheritance from a subsidiary of Stroykompleks NPO PM JSC, which Iskra acquired in 2013 as part of business diversification. The construction complex conducted a number of large engineering projects in the Russian Federation, however, according to one of them, the client did not pay for the completed work, said Iskra Design Bureau, noting that the formation of credit debt was influenced by default of the customer’s obligations, and not by the situation in the satellite communications market.

Meanwhile, experts are talking about growing competition in the market. The company grew rapidly in the number of stations, much faster than competitors, which requires significant financial investment. Probably, credit funds were attracted for development. However, the satellite communications market today cannot be called fast-growing. It largely depends on the b2g sector. It is possible that Spark did not calculate its capabilities and built more stations than necessary, said Denis Kuskov, director of the Telecom Daily news agency. The spark, according to him, takes the second place in Russia in the number of stations.

In Iskra itself, they confirm that there is stagnation in the satellite communications market in terms of subscriber base growth: Operators have slowed down the pace of connections and have stepped up the development of customer service to increase the average bill.

According to Telecom Daily, revenue from satellite Internet services in Russia by the end of 2018 increased by 246% compared to 2011 and amounted to 10 billion rubles. Walter construction partner Vadim Tedeev notes that today the absolute leaders in the growth of the subscriber base in the b2c and b2b markets are SenSat (a subsidiary of the state-controlled Rostelecom) and Tricolor. From 2017 to 2018, the number of natural broadband satellite subscribers in Russia grew by about 8 thousand. According to Tricolor, almost half of the newly connected subscribers are its customers. According to various estimates, Rostelecom owns 25% of the b2c market. It can be assumed that in the next five years the satellite broadband market will complete its transformation and acquire all the features of the mobile communications market. That is, no more than four major operators will dominate it, the rest will either be absorbed or go into relatively small niches of highly specialized communication services, says Vadim Tedeev.

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