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Major Russian wine and tobacco importer files for bankruptcy due to weaker ruble

January 30, 2015, 18:31 UTC+3 MOSCOW
The complicated situation with importers is related to abrupt drop of ruble rate against dollar and euro in the fourth quarter of 2014
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© Sergei Fadeichev/TASS

MOSCOW, January 30. /TASS/. Affiliates of Rusimport, a major Russian wine and tobacco importer, filed bankruptcy petitions to the Moscow Arbitration Court, the company spokesperson said on Friday.

"The complicated situation with importers is related to abrupt drop of ruble rate against dollar and euro in the fourth quarter of 2014. Our regional distributors are working in the ruble zone and currency risks do not affect them," Rusimport’s representative added.

The company is operating with respite and makes payments to suppliers and buyers at the rate on the day of payment, she said. Rusimport currently has to pay at a 77-80 ruble per euro rate for wines and liquors imported last summer at a 47 rubles per euro rate.

Banks are raising lending rates at the same time. "The company is unable to compensate its losses by raising prices because products are shipped to large retail chains, where price review can take 1.5-2 and even 3 months," the company spokesperson said.

She said Rusimport’s losses in 4Q 2014 were higher than profit in the several previous years. The company did not stop the import of wines and liquors but cut its volume by almost a half. Sales through distribution channels dropped by 50% year-on-year in January.

Rusimport has been operating in the Russian market for more than 20 years. In addition to the import of wines and liquors, the company is managing a wide distribution chain in more than 40 Russian cities.

TASS reported earlier that another major Russian wine and liquor importer Simple suspended shipment of products for a week in December because of ruble exchange rate fluctuations.

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