Russia’s Largest Retailer Magnit Raises 2013 Profitability Goal

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization as a percentage of sales will be in line with the previous years 10.6 percent, Krasnodar, southern Russia-based Magnit said today in a statement. The retailer had previously forecast a margin of 9.7 percent to 10 percent. Magnit, run and owned by billionaire Sergey Galitskiy, has the highest Ebitda margin among publicly traded peers globally, according to Sberbank CIB. The margin in the first half of 2013 was 10.1 percent of sales. The new guidance shows managements confidence that the company will continue its strong performance and accelerate it in the fourth quarter, Natalia Kolupaeva, an analyst at ZAO Raiffeisenbank in Moscow, said by phone. Sales this year will rise 29 percent to 30 percent, Magnit said today, compared with previous guidance of 27 percent to 30 percent. For 2014, the retailer forecast revenue growth of 25 percent, in line with analysts estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Magnit also said it plans capital spending of $1.7 billion to $1.8 billion next year, at least as much as in 2013. It plans to open 1,000 convenience stores, 80 hypermarkets and 350 cosmetics outlets next year. Magnit fell 1.4 percent to $62 at 9:51 a.m. in London, where the stock is traded. The company overtook X5 Retail Group NV (FIVE) in March as Russias largest retailer by sales. Its market value has increased by 54 percent this year to $29.3 billion.

Russia files piracy charges against Greenpeace

It was unclear how many of the 30 activists on board face piracy charges, which carry a potential prison sentence of up to 15 years and a fine of 500,000 rubles (about $15,500). The Investigative Committee, Russia’s federal investigative agency, said it would question all those who participated in the protest and detain the “more active” among them. Two activists tried to climb onto the Prirazlomnaya platform on Thursday and others assisted from small inflatable boats. The Greenpeace protest was aimed at calling attention to the environmental risks of drilling for oil in Arctic waters. “When a foreign vessel full of electronic technical equipment of unknown purpose and a group of people calling themselves members of an environmental rights organization try nothing less than to take a drilling platform by storm, logical doubts arise about their intentions,” Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin said in a statement. Greenpeace ship ‘Arctic Sunrise’ is escorted by a Russian coast guard boat, in Kola Bay at the milit He said the activists posed a danger to the work of the oil platform. “Such activities not only infringe on the sovereignty of a state, but might pose a threat to the environmental security of the whole region,” Markin said. Greenpeace insists that Russia had no right under international law to board its ship. One activist told The Associated Press that the Coast Guard officers hit and kicked some activists when they stormed the vessel. The Arctic Sunrise was anchored Tuesday in a small bay near Severomorsk, the home port of Russia’s Northern Fleet, 25 kilometers (15 miles) north of Murmansk. Greenpeace said the 30 activists were from 18 countries.