Bank “Trust”, having failed to recover the debt of about 3 billion rubles. with Wonderkind, the owner of Hamley’s, a chain of children’s goods stores, decided to bankrupt it. The bank is thus trying to put an end to the protracted litigation with the company of Alexander Mamut. According to lawyers, now there are no grounds for satisfying the insolvency application of the seller of toys, but it is possible that they may appear after the completion of a series of proceedings in the courts.
Bank of non-core assets “Trust” on February 2 notified that it intends to file for bankruptcy of JSC “Vanderkind”, the manager of Russian stores of the international chain of children’s toy stores Hamley’s, found “Kommersant” in the register of information on the Fedresurs portal. Wonderkind is part of the Ideas4Retail group of companies. In 2019, Kommersant reported that 90% of Ideas4Retail is owned by A&NN Investments of businessman Alexander Mamut. The company owns exclusive rights to develop the Hamley’s chain of stores in Russia.
The press service of Trust told Kommersant that the bank’s decision was due to the borrower’s failure to fulfill its obligations under the loan agreement and the lack of alternative options for settling the debt.
Ideas4Retail and A&NN Investments executive director Nadezhda Ermakova did not respond to Kommersant’s request.
According to SPARK-Interfax, the revenue of JSC Vanderkind in 2021 amounted to 991 million rubles, net profit – 20 million rubles. In 2017–2020, the company was unprofitable.
Today, according to the website of the Russian Hamley’s, there are only two points of sale of the network: in the Oceania shopping center in Moscow and in the MoreMall in Sochi. As Kommersant previously reported, since the beginning of 2023, Hamley’s stores in four Moscow shopping centers have opened under a new name – Winnie. Ideas4Retail also develops a chain of children’s goods stores of the same name. In January, the Hamley’s flagship store in the Central Children’s Store (TsDM) on Lubyanka was also closed (see Kommersant of January 16).
Starting in 2021, Trust and Wonderkind have been litigating related to the credit line agreement signed by the parties in February 2017. Thus, the courts rejected the claims of the Trust to recover about 2.6 billion rubles from Wonderkind. loan debt, as well as almost 499 million rubles. overdue principal obligations.
At the same time, in July 2021, at the suit of Vanderkind and Alexander Mamut, the court postponed the payment of a mandatory loan payment of 500 million rubles. until the end of 2022. At the end of January this year, the Moscow Arbitration Court again extended the contract until the end of 2024. In addition, in December 2022, courts in two instances satisfied the claim of Vanderkind to recover about 1.5 billion rubles from Trust. losses in the form of lost profits due to the bank’s refusal to continue lending.
Given these circumstances, the court may refuse to satisfy the Trust’s application to recognize Wonderkind as insolvent, NSP lawyer Aram Grigoryan believes. Lawyer and partner of K’AMELAWT legal boutique Anastasia Shamshina also does not rule out that the company’s bankruptcy case will probably be postponed until the court of cassation decides on the Vanderkind’s claim to recover 1.5 billion rubles from the bank.
Now the Moscow Arbitration Court is considering another claim by Trust – to recover 2.4 billion rubles from Wonderkind. A hearing in the case has been scheduled for February 16. If this lawsuit is satisfied and the defendant does not repay the debt, then the bank will already have grounds for filing an application for declaring the debtor bankrupt, says Irina Kaplun, a lawyer at the Intellectual Capital Law Office.
At the same time, Wonderkind is now trying to show that it has no outward signs of insolvency, Aram Grigoryan believes. This, according to him, is indicated by the fact that the company is trying to settle smaller claims, for example, with the Central House of Music at Lubyanka. In the case of the introduction of bankruptcy proceedings, the lawyer concludes, “Trust” will be able to sell pledges of shares and property of the company at the auction or keep the pledged property for itself if the auction is declared invalid.