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7 Aug, 2008 08:03

Murdoch fears about Russian investment climate not matched by investment flows

Media magnate Rupert Murdoch has voiced fears about the investment climate in Russia and says he wants to sell his assets in the country. It seems not all investors share Murdoch’s opinion. In the past 6 months foreign direct investment reached 30 bill

Multi-billionaire Rupert Murdoch is the owner of the billboard advertising operator – News Outdoor – along with other media assets.

Last year he announced he wants to sell the billboard group. For the first time he’s revealed the decision is driven by what he says are increasing risks to successful firms.

“The more I read about investments in Russia the less I like the feel of it. The more successful we’d be in Russia the more vulnerable we’d be to have the business stolen from us, so there we sell now.”

Murdoch is asking 1.6 billion dollars for the billboard group – with no buyer so far.

Roland Nash of Renaisance capital says other recent events on the Russian market could worry investors.  However he doesn’t expect any significant impact on capital inflows.

“If somebody was making the decision today about investing into Russia, when they saw all of the headlines in the western press coming out about problems that exist for TNK-BP it would make them question their potential decision to invest into Russia.  So its definitely negative for Russia.”

Last year Russia received 60 billion dollars of investment.  On Wednesday Russia’s finance minister said he expects a net capital inflow this year but gave no numbers.

Kudrin acknowledged the recent announcement of a price fixing investigation into steel and coke group Mechel could put off some foreign investors.  However he sees the effect limited mainly to portfolio investors – and offset by foreign investors seeking to profit from Russia’s fast growing economy.