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The 2014 All-Russia Research Team: Consumer, No. 1: Maria Kolbina

Maria Kolbina
VTB Capital
First-Place Appearances: 2

Total Appearances: 5

Analyst Debut: 2010

After a year in second place, Maria Kolbina of VTB Capital recaptures the top position on this roster — and no wonder. “She is a dynamic analyst who is knowledgeable and always current,” one money manager asserts. The 30-year-old analyst monitors 20 Russian consumer names, double the number of a year ago, and counts Moscow’s Pharmstandard among her least favorite in the group. In July, on news that management intended to divest the company’s over-the-counter business into a separate entity and grant current stockholders the option of selling their global depositary receipts at an 18 percent discount, she downgraded Pharmstandard from hold to sell, deriding the “poor corporate governance” at Russia’s largest drugmaker and substandard visibility since the restructuring management completed in December. Within two days the GDRs plunged 44.5 percent, to $11.15, and had settled to $9.60 at the end of May. On the other hand, in April, Kolbina added Lenta to her coverage portfolio with a buy rating, at $10.15, on the St. Petersburg–based food chain’s plans to open more stores. At the end of the following month, its GDRs were trading at $12, and they remain recommended. Another current favorite is Dixy Group, a Moscow-based discount grocery chain operator that she upgraded from hold to buy in December, at 409.89 rubles, citing margin improvements. Despite subsequent earnings disappointments that contributed to a sell-off to 204.48 rubles in mid-March, she is sticking with the stock. By the end of May, the shares had rebounded to 379 rubles, still well below her price objective of 510 rubles. This year, Kolbina also wins the No. 3 spot in Real Estate. “Maria is hitting on all cylinders,” observes another supporter.

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