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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Spotlight Shines on Unsung Consumer Market Players

Consumerism is accelerating at such a rapid pace that it's hard to keep track of all the companies capitalizing on the trend. But the compilers of a new reference guide for the consumer market hope to change all that -- and attract the interest of foreign investors in the process.

On Tuesday, Interactive Research Group unveiled a 250-page breakdown of the 100 most promising domestic players in the sector. Notably absent were some of the most recognizable names in business, such as MTS, Baltika and Wimm-Bill-Dann.

"We are very unhappy that the foreign press in Russia only seems to know the names of few Russian companies," said IRG chairman Greg Thain, adding that publicly-listed domestic giants and foreign-owned players were deliberately omitted.

Russia's consumer market is worth $275 billion a year and growing 15 percent annually, but few people know the names of the companies that account for most of the business, Thain said.

The guide -- sponsored by Deloitte & Touche, which works for several of the companies profiled, French bank Societe Generale and international corporate financier Altium Capital -- details enterprises that specialize in everything from tires to drugs and sports clubs to restaurants.

Thain said the companies in the report were selected for having a healthy bottom line, sage financial management and aggressive expansion plans.

This year, sales growth expected of the 100 companies is between 20 percent and 25 percent. Meanwhile, 13 of the 100 are planning to go public within in the next two years and 40 percent have announced plans to issue bonds.

The list of pending IPOs include cosmetics firm Kalina, food companies Cherkizovsky and Parnas-M, mobile phone retailer Euroset, MVideo, tire maker Amtel, Russian Textile, publishing house ProfMedia and the Rosinter restaurant chain.

Major Russian financial industrial groups have stakes in just 14 of the firms.

Not everything about these companies is transparent, however. Thaine said that only 45 percent of the information in the database came from the companies themselves.

Thain said companies like Kalina and Maisky Chai, which makes popular brands of tea, were giving global giants Procter & Gamble and Unilever a run for their money, something they are not used to in other markets.

"Russia is a much more sprightly market -- it is forming very quickly. It's not so much aggression, it is just extremely active," said Unilever spokeswoman Julia Goshko.

"This is a contribution we are making to society -- we want to publicize Russian companies in the eyes of foreign investors," said IRG analyst Dmitry Alenouchkine.

Alenouchkine said the report will be posted on IRG's web site, www.intrg.com, where it can be downloaded for free, adding that the report would be updated and expanded periodically.

He said IRG would present 70 copies of its report to foreign investors at the 6th Annual Russian Economic Forum in London, which begins Wednesday.