Attracting more foreign investment into Russia

Russia could attract $30 billion in foreign investment in 2011 if all companies part of the state privatisation campaign hold an IPO this year. Business RT spoke with Kirill Dmitirev, CEO at Icon Private Equity Fund about the outlook for investment.

RT:How much foreign investment is Russia really likely to attract this year?

KD:  “I think $30 billion is a very realistic target. I just came from a meeting in Davos, and BRIC countries are very much a focus for investment targets, and Russia specifically, because of the address of President Dmitry Medvedev, that showed that there are many specific interesting investment opportunities in the privatization programme and beyond the privatization programme in Russia.”

RT:  And what sectors do you think are the most promising for that?

KD:  “I will just give you three examples.Agriculture is a very interesting sector, and we all know what is happening to food prices around the world.And they have risen dramatically. And Russia is one of the most dominant agricultural players.Infrastructure is definitely a great sector as well, where lots of infrastructure investment will be happening – for the Olympic games, for the World Champions League etc.And all investments related to the middle class – its growing very dramatically in Russia – so banks, media, lots of sectors where Russian population is growing, have better purchasing power, and can build very successful investment stories.”

RT:  And do you think Moscow can ever become an international financial centre?

KD:  “There are very many efforts by Mr Sobyanin, the new mayor, to make this goal a reality.And again it was very widely discussed in Davos, what needs to be done to make this happen.And already lots of companies are coming to Russia to invest more, and the merger of two big trading platforms, that happened this week, is also a big step forward. So definitely I think Moscow is moving forward.”

RT:  The Russian finance minister says the country needs about a 7-10% increase in foreign investment annually, for the economy to grow.What should be done to promote this apart from privatization?

KD:  “Well, I think, two things, to tell the world the Russian investment story.And first deputy Mr Shuvalov was very active in Davos explaining many opportunities in Russia.And I think Russia is becoming more open to outside investment, and telling the story is very important.But secondly what Mr Medvedev announced is creation of Russian sovereign fund to attract foreign investment in Russia.It is very important.So it will be an investment platform for leading investors in the world to invest together with Russia, with the Russian government to solve many of the investment issues they typically face in Russia.So that also is going to be a very important step for the investment in Russia."

RT:  Do you think strategic sectors will also be involved in this programme?

KD:  “Yes, definitely, so I think privatization, strategic sectors and sovereign fund are a gateway to invest in Russia.All very specific steps, taken by the President and the government to attract investment into Russia.”