Leasing companies in Russia are
beginning to feel the impact of the global economic turmoil, and
are beginning to take steps to minimise costs.

Russian lessors attending the Leasing in Russia conference in
Barcelona, organised by C5, spoke openly about the effect that the
credit crunch was having on their business.

“Thus far, the credit crunch has not been as destructive in
Russia as it has been in Europe and the Far East,” said Dr Victor
Gazman, a professor at the Higher School of Economics in
Moscow.

“This is not to say that some leasing companies are not in
difficulty, as we have recently seen some companies stop accepting
new contracts, as well as an increase in staff redundancies.”

For example, in the last quarter, the Petersburg Leasing Company
has closed down two of its branches and has made redundancies, due
to the construction leasing industry being “on the verge of
insolvency”.

Dmitriy Gorizontov, its general director, said: “Cutting
personnel is not a panacea for all, as it depends entirely on the
company. Our strategy is to minimise costs, while maintaining a
competitive price and quality of service.”

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By GlobalData

The general director of MAN Financial Services in Russia, Dr
Thomas Schneiderheinze, predicted the period from January to April
will be a critical period for the industry.

“We have seen the volume of shipments of MAN trucks decrease by
20 percent. MAN Financial Services funds a quarter of MAN’s
business in Russia, so we will no doubt be affected by the downturn
in 2009,” he said.

However, some lessors remain positive. When asked about what
effect the credit crunch would have on the Russian leasing
industry, Sergey Oyama, the deputy general director of UniCredit
Leasing in Russia, simply replied: “This is not our credit
crunch.”

The Russian leasing market grew 75.33 percent last year, and
although 2008 will see significantly less growth, it will still
beat most European countries.

Jason T Hesse