The volume of new business in January–September 2017 amounted to around 710 billion rubles, which exceeds the value of the similar period of the previous year by 58%. According to the survey of leasing companies, an increase in leasing business volume in the first 9 months of 2017 was demonstrated by two thirds of respondents, accounting for more than 90% of the market total in terms of leasing business volume. None of the top 20 lessors demonstrated overall negative dynamics of new business volume. The reason of such active market growth was the implementation of state programmes for leasing subsidising in certain types of transport against the realisation of deferred demand from clients. State programmes for preferential leasing mainly provided support to the transport segments, the share of which in the first 9 months of 2017 was reaching around 78% in the volume of new business, against 72% a year earlier.
The total sum of new lease contracts in January–September 2017 exceeded 1.1 trillion rubles, against 680 billion rubles a year earlier, whereas the volume of the lease portfolio as of October 1, 2017 reached 3.3 trillion rubles. The volume of payments received in the three quarters of 2017 amounted to 680 billion rubles, which is slightly higher than the value of the previous year. The average ratio of lease payments received to the portfolio as of October 1, 2017 equalled 43% against 44.2% as of October 1, 2016. The average portfolio turnover in companies specialising in retail segments remained at the level of the previous year (around 46–47%). However, said indicator in lessors working with heavy and expensive equipment declined from 30% to 23%. The reason of this decline lay in an active increase in operating lease transactions during the past years, which involve unevenly distributed lease payments and the largest part of the debt falling on the end of the contract terms.
In the first 9 months of 2017, “Sberbank Leasing” was the market leader, having increased its new business volume by 163%. A year earlier the company was third in the ranking. The second position in new business volume in the leasing market had been held by the “State Transport Leasing Company” (“GTLK”), whereas “VTB Leasing” was third. As before, high market concentration on the largest lessors can be observed, and it keeps increasing. In the first three quarters of 2017, the top 3 leasing companies accounted for around 37% of new business (35% a year earlier). It should be noted that the business of the three largest players forms 88% of the aviation segment, 38% of rolling stock leasing and a quarter of truck leasing. The total share of the top 10 companies in the volume of new business in January–September of the current year increased from 64% to 67%, and the top 20 account for 80% against 78% a year earlier.
Growth of leasing business in capital-intensive segments led to a change in the structure of new business by lessees in the first 9 months of 2017. According to the study by “RAEX” (“Expert RA”), the share of large companies in new business in January–September 2017 reached 45%, against 38% in the similar period of the previous year. The share of small and medium-sized enterprises declined from 60% to 52%, and around 2.5% fell on state institutions against 1% a year earlier, whereas the share of individuals did not change significantly and remains lower than 1%. It should be noted that a third of the new business volume by “GTLK” during the first 9 months of 2017 falls on companies classified as small enterprises in terms of their annual revenue. Given that these clients were leasing expensive equipment – primarily aviation machinery – they can be reclassified to the segment of large enterprises. In this case, the share of small enterprises in the first three quarters of 2017 would equal 34.7%, whereas the share of large enterprises would amount to 49.3%.
The transport segment, which includes car, rolling stock and aircraft leasing according to “RAEX” (“Expert RA”), and the water transport segment are major components of the Russian leasing market. In the first 9 months of 2017, the share of the transport segments reached around 80% (72% a year earlier), whereas the largest segment during the past four years has been truck and personal car leasing, occupying 38% of new business. The truck segment has surpassed the segment of personal cars – 22% against 16% (18% and 20% respectively a year earlier). Said change in the structure of vehicle leasing in favour of trucks was a result of the implementation of three state programmes for targeted support –“Russkiy Tyagach (Russian Tractor)”, “Russkiy Fermer (Russian Farmer)” and “Svoe Delo (Your Own Business)” [Z1]– launched by the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation.
The greatest increase in new business in the first 9 months of 2017 was demonstrated by the railway segment (+153%) as a result of rapid write-off of the old car fleet, which led to a shortage of rolling stock. Alexander Kozhevnikov, general director of “MKB-Leasing” states that the railway segment is highly attractive at the moment: interest rates are exceptionally low and there is a shortage of cars due to targeted disposal. The volume of leasing business in aircraft segment during the first 9 months of 2017 increased by 56% – it should be noted that the aviation segment is mainly occupied by airplane leasing, whereas the share of helicopters does not exceed 5%. All in all, in the first 9 months of 2017, 12 out of 17 segments distinguished by “RAEX” (“Expert RA”) within the study demonstrated positive dynamics. A decline in volumes was recorded in 5 segments accounting for less than 3% of the leasing market.
The volume of leasing business in the segment of food equipment amounted to around 3.5 billion rubles (0.5% of the leasing market) in the first 9 months of 2017, which is 15% lower than in the similar period of the previous year. Despite the reduction of the segment of food equipment leasing, its leader “Siemens Finance” increased its business in the segment by 13%, accounting for not less than 40% of food equipment leasing according to “RAEX” (“Expert RA”).
HIGH-TECH EQUIPMENT LEASING LAGGING BEHIND
The structure of the Russian economy continues to maintain its raw material nature and weak manufacturing sector, partly due to production facilities being underequipped with high-tech machinery. Modernization of major industrial companies and state corporations through upgrading their outdated equipment is favourable for clients and manufacturers as well as the state. The opportunity of using modern equipment with higher efficiency can significantly reduce operating costs and increase productivity in the economy. Leasing could serve as the main tool for upgrading production equipment.
In the first 9 months of 2017, the volume of new business in high-tech equipment amounted to around 34 billion rubles, which is only 4.8% of the leasing market on the whole. “RAEX” (“Expert RA”) classifies the following machinery as high-tech equipment: machine-building, telecommunications, pharmaceutical and medical equipment as well as equipment for the energy industry and in particular the oil and gas industry.
Within the study on the leasing market for the first 9 months of 2017, respondents were offered to identify the key factors limiting the development of high-tech equipment leasing in Russia. Every second survey participant noted the low liquidity of highly specialised equipment. One fourth of respondents state that domestic high-tech equipment is virtually non-existent, and imported equipment has become considerably more expensive due to growing exchange rates, which led to decreased demand for this type of asset. Furthermore, not all lessors are ready to operate in this segment. According to Kirill Tsarev, general director of “Sberbank Leasing”, these are niche projects involving high risks, in particular from the point of view of technology development and its speed. Therefore, rather strong competency on the one hand and trusted borrowers on the other hand are required for this.
Answering the question of which measures can stimulate the development of high-tech leasing, 69% of lessors believe that leasing in this segment could be supported by state subsidy programs similar to preferential car leasing. Around 14% of respondents note that banks are reluctant to provide loans secured by illiquid equipment, and therefore accessible loans would stimulate development. About 7% of the study participants are convinced that the primary necessity lies in supporting industrial production rather than stimulation of leasing, as demand for high-tech equipment leasing is a consequence of the development of the manufacturing sector.
AWAITING A TRILLION
According to the previous forecast by “RAEX” (“Expert RA”), growth in new business in 2017 could have amounted to approximately 15–18%, and, as a consequence, the absolute market size could have reached 850–875 billion rubles. However, considering 58% market growth up to 710 billion rubles in the first 9 months of the year, the agency revised its forecast upwards, assuming that the fourth quarter will be even more productive in terms of new business volume. Since it is the end of the year when the largest contracts are concluded, “RAEX” (“Expert RA”) expects the fourth quarter to provide 33–35% of the total new business volume in 2017. Therefore, assets valued at not less than 350 billion rubles total will be leased in the last 3 months of the year, which will allow the market to exceed the level of 1 trillion rubles, thus reaching its new maximum.
Realisation of this forecast is most likely with major deals with expensive machinery in the aviation and railway segments as well as growth in car leasing volumes contributed to by state support programmes. According to “RAEX” (“Expert RA”), the segments of trucks and personal cars will grow by 80 and 35% respectively this year. The volume of aircraft leasing in 2017 will increase by 30%, whereas railway machinery leasing will be the most dynamic segment of the year (+120%). At the moment, a shortage can be observed in the railway segment in a number of rolling stock types. In 2018, according to general director of “TransFin-M” Dmitry Zotov, the railway segment will demonstrate a volume comparable to 2017. In these conditions, leasing companies will have to enter the segment of specialised rolling stock in order to invest in new railroad cars.
According to Vladimir Dobrovolsky, deputy general director of “GTLK”, growth will continue in sectors where a shortage of rolling stock is still severe, including grain hopper cars, well cars, log cars, and specialised tank cars. The forecast by “RAEX” (“Expert RA”) is based on the expectations of a further decline in the Bank of Russia’s key rate to 7.5–8% by the end of 2017 as well as the level of inflation not exceeding 3.5–4%.
According to analysts of the agency, positive market development dynamics will continue, although growth rates of the lease business will slow down and will remain at the level of 10–20% – as a result, the volume of new business in 2018 will amount to 1.1–1.2 trillion rubles. Despite the stabilisation of macroeconomic indicators and economic recovery, next year, instead of aiming to expand and enter new segments, lessors will focus on further increasing their efficiency through developing existing product offers and improving internal business processes.
RAEX (“Expert RA”)