«When both partners earn, then this is a business»

General Director of TBI LLC Ivan Dmitrievich Karamanov in an interview with Delovaya Gazeta. South ”spoke about his immediate plans in business.

The head of the company shared his experience on how the difficult period of the pandemic and its consequences was passed for exporters.

Despite the difficult economic situation, the company continues to work on a project to launch a marine terminal. A long-term financial partner: Alfa — Bank (JSC) provides a great help and support to the group of companies. TBI Group became a laureate of the “Business Class A” award established by Alfa — Bank for SME clients.

Also, in an interview with a reporter, Ivan Dmitrievich shared his vision of the development of the export market in general and TBI GC in particular.

We bring to your attention excerpts from the article.

GC «TBI» under the leadership Ivana Karamanova continued its development even in conditions pandemics.

The leadership group of companies was decided to continue launch of a new container terminal, no matter what.

Confidence in correctness businessmen gave solutions and a financial partner.

About, how did you manage to save the state and employee salaries and start implementation of the launch project container terminal, Ivan Karamanov told “DG. South».

— Ivan, today it’s amazing to hear that someone is opening a new direction, despite any threats and prohibitions. How did you decide to take such a step?

— We took control of the sea terminal even before the pandemic, and when this whole situation with restrictions, quarantines and stops happened, it was too late to retreat: when you are already in a submarine and plunged into the sea, it’s too late to be afraid — we must act.

Now we are trying with all our might to maintain the project, bring it to the indicators that we planned. Of course, our financial partner Alfa-Bank (JSC) helped a lot: he met us halfway, offered options on how to optimize costs and financial flows during a pandemic. We had one option for the development of events — to look for ways out of the crisis and growth points.

If we entered with this project at the beginning of the pandemic, we would think very well.

— How much have the initial calculations of profit and the payback period of the project changed?

— Six months plus — that’s for sure. Now it is difficult to name specific dates and numbers, since in our business a lot depends on the state of various sectors of the economy as a whole. We depend on the volume of exports, on the volume of production in the domestic market. It all depends on how quickly our producers return to their previous production volumes.

— What changes have occurred in your company since the start of quarantine?

— There were no fundamental changes. We have long ago rebuilt all the processes of remote work, were ready to work from home. Of course, there were more problems: volumes decreased. The most affected area is trucking, the prices for these services have dropped so much that we simply stopped this type of activity, working for the sake of work is not the case.

Container traffic has fallen, time disruptions have begun, and there is a shortage of empty containers. Now we see a recovery, but how quickly the recovery will take place is a difficult question.

— What are the directions in your group of companies?

— The main direction is logistics. There are four formats: road transport, rail, sea and container. There is an analytical system «Logistic OS», which we presented last year.

It contains all the information on the transportation of agro-industrial cargo in all seaports over the past eight years, that is, anyone can get information about each shipped cargo, analyze demand, supply, volumes, etc.

The number of users is growing, so we continue to work on this product. We are thinking of opening our own export business. Today the market is changing and those who export their own goods will benefit.

— Who should a bank be to an entrepreneur today? How should a relationship be built?

— Both the bank and the business have a common goal — to make money. When the balance is upset and one of the partners starts making money on the other, then conflicts and breakdowns relations appear.

For example, in the current situation, we have two banks — financial partners. In Alfa-Bank leasing, in another, I will not say in what kind, our company has a loan.

So, as collateral for the loan, we have pledged a motor transport company, the appraised value is five times the loan balance. We asked the bank for permission to withdraw some of the equipment, sell it and repay the rest of the loan. We were refused.

The bank understands that as soon as we close the debt, it will lose income from us.

This is wrong behavior in my opinion. Now we need to be a partner, to meet halfway, to support the business, and not to drive it into credit bondage.

Naturally, we found another way out of the situation, but in the future we will not work with this bank.

— How do you choose your financial partner?

— Should be comfortable, fast, reliable. For example, it is convenient for us to work with Alfa-Bank.

Of course, before receiving the lease, we worked out a large number of contracts with this financial institution, he knew us, saw our volumes, so he promptly approved leasing for us.

When choosing, everything is important: reliability, technical support and even the indicator of how pleasant it is for you to communicate with bank employees, because here, as elsewhere, without open, easy relations, there will be no constructive conversation.


Ivan Karamanov came into business suddenly.

After many years of work in an international corporation, having quit, he decided to take a break, to think in which direction to move on.

A friend called with a proposal to open a logistics company.

The preparation time was literally two hours. Ivan agreed.

Of course, TBI Group of Companies is fundamentally different from the business of ten years ago: it has become larger, more technologically advanced, but the main thing has been preserved — honesty and decency: even during the economically unstable and difficult two pandemic months, the group of companies did not cut a single employee and did not reduce the amount of wages fees, all financial losses were borne by the founders.