In my more than 15 years at Etalon Group, I have seen the Company grow and develop, while always taking a responsible approach to business that has helped it navigate challenging economic periods.
I have no doubt that the steps we took to expand in 2019 will benefit Etalon Group and all its stakeholders for years to come. At the same time, we have continued to implement resilient business processes and a conservative financial policy, which have enabled Etalon Group to continue to meet its obligations to customers and investors even with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Our resilience even in the current challenging economic conditions is partially the result of our acquisition of Leader-Invest. This deal further strengthened our position among the top residential developers in Moscow. In addition, I am especially pleased that this impressive achievement was accomplished in the midst of major changes in industry regulation that will ultimately benefit larger players.
Etalon Group’s transformation
Prior to 2019, we had been a leading St Petersburg developer with a strong foothold in Moscow throughout most of our more than 30-year history. Since the Leader-Invest acquisition in February of last year, however, we are now a leading player in both markets. Moreover, our position in Moscow was further enhanced by the completion of a transaction to take full ownership of the ZIL-Yug mega-project, with its 1.2 mln sqm of NSA in Russia’s capital city.
The combination of the two businesses was completed on schedule, and we managed to maintain the best practices that each company had to offer. We are now fully able to leverage the benefits of Etalon Group’s strong national sales network combined with Leader-Invest’s impressive and diversified portfolio of projects in Moscow. We are already marketing all projects under the unified Etalon Group brand, and we have integrated the two companies in order to achieve the synergies we expected when we announced the transaction.
Updated strategic targets
The Board of Directors approved a new strategy in January 2020. In the wake of the Leader-Invest deal, the strategy calls for the continued transformation of our business, driven largely by digitalisation and online technologies. For example, we see significant potential to leverage technology to achieve further improvements in cost efficiency; our aim is to make Etalon Group a leader in terms of operational performance in the Russian development market.
Technology will also transform our production processes and how we interact with customers. For example, we are already experimenting with new construction materials and techniques in addition to the brick-monolithic technology that we have traditionally used.
Ultimately, technology will change the way residents interact with their surroundings: we are building the ZIL-Yug project around a smart city concept that will offer residents a wide range of digital services from food delivery to feedback on neighbourhood initiatives and payment for municipal services.
Etalon Group is now facing the same challenging economic conditions that companies are up against all over the world due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I am confident, however, that we will successfully navigate this crisis as we have done when faced with challenges in the past. Looking longer-term, I am very excited to be part of the Etalon Group story and to be the CEO of a company that has so much promise.
We have become a leader in our core geographies — Russia’s “two capitals” of Moscow and St Petersburg. As we implement our new strategy, we will continue adapting our product to consumer demand, introducing leading-edge digital technologies and exploring new construction techniques to further enhance our business.
Thank you for your interest in Etalon Group, and I hope you will be part of our story in the years ahead.