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Interbrand Annual Rating - Russia's Top 40 Brands 2008

The financial crisis has not yet have any major impact on the Russian brands. Beeline retains the no.1 position although MTS is catching up quite fast. 10 newcomers in the list.

Moscow, 10 November 2008 – Interbrand, the global leader in creating and managing brand value in co-operation with the 'Kommersant DENGI' weekly presents the annual rating of Russia's leading brands. It is the fourth consecutive year that the Most Valuable Russian Brands ranking defines the top 40 national trademarks which create and retain high value in the today's competitive marketplace.

In 2000 Interbrand started to publish annualy the Best Global Brands ranking which is acknowledged to be the most popular among top managers. The agency also went on rating the most valuable brands across different nations, including Russia. The Interbrand Rating is considered to be the main reference to estimate the value of brands and is extensively used by the business communities around the world.

While determining the value of the Most Valuable Brands in Russia Interbrand takes into account multiple aspects and peculiarities. To make part of the rating a brand has to comply to a list of requirements: be created in Russia and be massively present across the country, be targeting final customer, not be monopolistic and publicly disclose financial information. The brand valuation methodology was conceived by Interbrand more than 20 years ago and since then has been applied to valuate around 5'000 brands.

'We publish our rating amid a global financial crisis which has had already a direct impact on Russia's economy' says Nicola Stanisch, Managing Director at Interbrand's Moscow office. 'The noticeable thing here is that the leading Russian brands retain value and are less vulnerable to the downturn than other kinds of assets. This once again proves the point that strong brands, if managed efficiently, not only allow to endure crises but also heel the expansion of businesses', she concluded.

Beeline (no.1, +4%) is holding the top spot the fourth year in a row. Albeit competitors demonstrate much higher rates of growth rapidly catching up to the leader. In 2007 MTS (no.2, +19%) managed to undertake an immense expansion on the market improving both qualitative and quantitative performance. The biggest event was the re-branding of the Ukraine's no.2 telecom UMC into MTS. The second victory the company scored was the acquisition of the biggest Armenian mobile operator K-Telecom owning VivaCell brand with a 60% share of the national market. Russia's leading beer brand Baltika (no.3, +9%) pursued a strategy similar to MTS: innovations in the product line accompanied by massive geographic expansion. Together the top three brands account for almost 65% of all the brands in the rating.

Megafon, Russia's third mobile operator is also posting high rates of growth (no.6, +19%): it invests massively in innovation and is consistent in branding policy. Klinskoye (no.37, +14%) extended the product line and managed to boost sales by 26.8% in 2007, while the industry grew almost twice slower in the same year.

In the process of compilation of the rating the brands of financial institutions were suffering the most: Alfa Bank (no.9, -4%), Bank of Moscow (no.15, -2%), Bank Russki Standart (no.18, -5%) and also Ingosstrakh (no.21 -1%). Relatively stable are the positions of Sberbank (no.7, +1%) and VTB (no.40, 0%) which enjoy considerable support of the Government. The biggest loser from the financial crisis is Severstal (no.12, -9%) as it already faces fall in demand for steel on the global markets and has already proceeded to cut production and work force.

Among brands that lost value in 2007 are such names as Arsenalnoye (no.14, -18%) and Yarpivo (no.19, -14%). The newcomers are Mirax (no.20), STS (no.22), Evraz (no.23), PIK (no.24), Svyaznoy (no.32), Tatneft (no.33), KAMAZ (no.34), Lada (no.35), RESO-Garantia (no.36) and Sedmoy Kontinent (no.38).

The rating is based on the data available one month before the publication when the Russian economy following the international trends started to suffer from the global crisis. By the beginning of October the turmoil influenced financial brands and trademarks present internationally. 'For this reason only next year we will be able to see how the brands will have endured global downturn', concludes Sergei Sharyukov, researcher at Interbrand.

The Interbrand rating Best Russian Brands 2008 will be available at www.interbrand.com and www.kommersant.ru by 0h00 CET on Monday, 10 November. On the same day it will be published in the printed version of the 'Kommersant DENGI' weekly.

About Interbrand.
Interbrand (www.interbrand.com) - is the leading global brand consultancy that puts together the vigour of strategy and analysis of managerial consulting with the creative spirit of branding and design. The agency offers a full circle of services that help its clients create, renovate, sustain and measure their most valuable assets - their brands. Established in 1974 Interbrand is present in 30 cities in more than 20 countries across the globe. The clientele includes the world's strongest brands. For more information please visit www.brandchannel.com, a website by Interbrand.

Interbrand Zintzmeyer&Lux – a subsidiary of Interbrand, manages the consulting practice of the global branding house in Switzerland, Germany and Eastern Europe. Interbrand Zintzmeyer&Lux opened the office in Moscow on March, 24th, 2005. This is the first office of a global brand consulting network on the Russian market.

The Moscow office offers to its clients a full range of advisory services in creating, managing and valuating brands in Russia and the CIS.

Interbrand Zintzmeyer&Lux is located in Moscow at the premises below: 12/1, 2nd Kadashevsky backstreet, 115035; tel: +7 495 787 4600, www.interbrand.com

Managing Directors of Interbrand Zintzmeyer&Lux in Moscow:
Maxim Parfentchikov: + 7 495 787 4600,
maxim.parfentchikov@interbrand.com.ru
Nicola Stanisch: + 7 495 787 4600,
nicola.stanisch@interbrand.com.ru