SMART-HOLDING and FOZZY GROUP have agreed on implementation of a joint project to restore the full service of Amstor retail chain. It is intended to cover the stores located outside the ATO (anti-terrorist operation) area. The food stores will be working under Silpo brand, while the shopping centres will preserve their original Amstor name.
The parties have reached the agreement and signed the respective memorandum of understanding stipulating the terms and conditions of cooperation as well as the master agreement. Within the framework of the latter, rental contracts for each store are concluded. It is assumed that the teams of Amstor’s employees will be preserved as much as possible. Currently, the staff is being interviewed about the future format of its work. The first stores will begin their operation in August 2015.
Chief Executive Officer of Smart-Holding Alexey Timofeyev said: "We have done a great deal of work to restore the infrastructure of the retail chain and to find co-investors for its development. SMART-HOLDING has retained the staff of its shopping centres and invested more than UAH 150 million in the restart of the stores. I am sure that cooperation with FOZZY GROUP, one of the leaders in the Ukrainian retail market, will be mutually beneficial, and buyers will finally get the opportunity to visit their favourite shopping centres."
Amstor Group established in 2003 was the operator of the same-name Ukrainian retail chain. In 2009, Smart-Holding became the owner of the Group having concentrated more than 70% of its equity. At the beginning of 2014, the retail chain included 38 stores of supermarket and hypermarket format (more than 10 thousand employees) in six regions of Eastern, Central and Southern Ukraine.
Currently, 18 stores are located in the ATO area and are not controlled by Smart-Holding.
At the end of 2014, the main shareholder, Smart-Holding, discovered unlawful deeds, withdrawal of funds from the Group to third-party companies for personal enrichment as well as attempts to unlawfully acquire the business by a minority shareholder and manager of Amstor Group Vladimir Vagorovskiy. Vladimir Vagorovskiy was removed from the office, a date was set for a full audit of the chain and the management team was changed on the initiative of Smart-Holding at the meetings of Amstor Group participants. In early 2015, the stores of the retail chain were seized by armed men who were there until 9 January. According to them, they acted on the commands of Vladimir Vagorovskiy. The entire infrastructure of the stores was destroyed, financial and HR records were taken to an unknown destination, the revenue disappeared. In spite of this Smart-Holding managed to retain the teams of employees and to restore the operation of the chain. Cooperation with one of the leaders of Ukrainian retail FOZZY GROUP became a logical continuation.Smart-Holding is one of the largest investment groups of Ukraine with focus on the key industries of the economy, including mining and metals, oil and gas, banking sector, shipbuilding, real estate and agriculture.