24 Aug 2023 13:43

Beluga Group changes name to Novabev Group

MOSCOW. Aug 24 (Interfax) - Beluga Group , one of Russia's leading alcoholic beverage producers and distributors, has changed its name to Novabev Group.

"The new name is to underscore the unique business model, which unites production, distribution, and retail operations, clearly differentiate the company's brands from flagship vodka, as well as to focus on the group's coverage of all categories of spirits and wines," the company said in a statement posted on its website on August 24.

It said the group's new name, Novabev, consists of two core elements. Nova (Latin for "new star") signifies the company's large scale, leading positions within the industry, and commitment to innovation. Be+V (short for "beverages") also combining the names Beluga and WineLab (V and W sound the same in Russian), emphasizes the synergy between producing and distributing brands, supported by the group's own retail sector, and as an abbreviation for the word "beverages" highlights the group's diverse portfolio.

"Despite the rebranding, the group's organizational and legal structure, strategy, management, and business processes remain unchanged. It will not affect obligations to shareholders, employees, partners, or consumers. Banking details and contact information remain the same. Going forward, the name Novabev Group will be included in all documents dispatched to shareholders, partners, and customers. The style of the website and corporate materials will be gradually updated," Novabev said.

"While the brand has evolved, the group will maintain its corporate identity and core values: consumer focus, focus on being the industry leader, aesthetic appeal, and adaptability. Finally, the group will be keeping its mission - "We fill brands with high quality and emotions to raise glasses full of cheer and good spirits". The vision will also remain unchanged, with the company still aspiring to be the best alcohol company that sets high standards for responsible business and industry, with products that are always number one for consumers in any category and every outlet," it said.

The company said earlier that several factors contributed to the name change. "With the evolution of the company, the existing name no longer reflects its essence and multidimensionality. The rebranding also corresponds to the company's business diversification strategy. Today, the company's activity is based on an innovative vertically integrated business model that combines production, distribution and retail into one company, which together create a synergistic effect, strengthening each other," the company said.

VinLab is gaining more importance both in the group and in the industry, thanks to which the company is mastering the online space and becoming an expert in e-commerce, the company said in a press release at the beginning of August.

"External audiences mistake the group's brand for a vodka brand and vice versa, it is necessary to separate these, especially following the sale of the international rights to the Beluga brand," the company said. "Because of the name, which is partially associated with our flagship product, the group is perceived as a vodka. However, over the past few years, as part of the diversification of operations, it has also become a leading importer of wine & spirits, and has its own additional portfolio of brands that occupy top positions in all key categories of alcoholic beverages," it said.

"In order to separate the company and vodka brands in the perception of the public, as well as to focus on universality and coverage of all categories of spirits and wines, the group plans to change its name and corporate identity," the company said.

This is not the company's first name change. It became Beluga after its flagship brand in June 2017. Prior to that, the company was called Synergy. Then, the name change was explained as an exit "to a new, global stage of development, when it is necessary to ensure the integrity of the brand's perception among its target audiences, to 'relaunch' the corporate culture, and strengthen its market positions."

Beluga Group is one of the largest alcohol producers in Russia. In 2022, the company increased shipments 6.8% to 16.8 million dal. Of this volume, 13.9 million dal was the company's own brands, which was a 5.4% increase over prior year, and 2.9 million dal came from sales of partner brands, a 13.8% increase.

Revenue in 2022 totaled 97.32 billion rubles, which is 29.9% more than in 2021. EBITDA for the year increased 70% to 17.36 billion rubles. Profitability was 17.8% against 14% in 2021. Net profit increased 2.2-fold to 8.44 billion rubles.

In H1 2023, the company shipped 7 million dal of products, which is 5.7% less than a year earlier. Compared to the same period in 2021, this figure was up 7%. Excluding export sales, the decrease in shipments compared to 2022 is 2.8%.

Shipments of in-house brands decreased 9% compared to the same period in 2022, while shipments of partner brands increased 27%.

The group owns five distilleries, one plant for pure spirit production, the Golubitskoye Estate winery, its own distribution system and the VinLab retail chain.