The view from St Petersburg: Kirill Dmitriev

With business and economic leaders gathering for the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum Business RT spoke with Kirill Dmitriev, CEO, Russian Direct Investment Fund about the establishment of the state backed investment fund

KD:The basic idea behind the Fund is co-investments. Actually, Vladimir Dmitriev, Chairman of VEB, myself and some other key people traveled around key investors in the world asked them: “how would you invest much more into the Russian economy?”. Basically, they said that they would like to invest more but they need to have a good partner. Because for many people that would be the first investment to Russia they need to have a partner. So, for investor it is the basic idea. The Fund will invest in projects, but it will invest in projects only if at least the same amount of money is co-invested by leading international investor in the project as well.”

RT: What is the broader purpose of this fund? What does it hope to achieve?

KD:I think many investors feel that there is sort of a perception gap between real risk situation in Russia and how some investors perceive it. And, you know, we can go to the history of that, but everybody agree that there is such perception gap, that basically investors think its more difficult and more risky to invest in Russia than actually it is. So the fund will be a partner and they need a partner to feel more comfortable making investment. It is very similar, if you are investing in China, would you invest on your own or would you like to partner with a Chinese fund. So we are just making it easier to find the partner and we share the risk because Russian state will be co-investing with al investors.”

RT: Why should guarantee be necessary? Isn’t there a kind of admission that there is a genuine risk, that there are problems that can’t be fixed?

KD:Funds like this, funds that invest a lot in domestic economy exist in many countries. It is very important because much country’s France and pretty much all other countries they want money to be invested inside and they want to make sure the company grows inside. So it is not something incredibly unique that we are doing.”

RT: Is $10 billion going to be enough?

KD: Well, first of all we are not going to get $10 billion up front. We are going to get $2 billion each year for the next five years and we believe it is a good way to start. Chinese investment preparation has $300 billion under management before it had $250 billion under management. So that’s not the largest fund in the world but for what it is designed to do which is to bring international investors into Russia we believe it will really work in a sufficient amount of money to showcase 30-40 very successful investment examples over the next 5-7 years”