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22 Feb, 2012 16:04

Piste de resistance: French expertise lifts Russian resorts

For those who want skiing and snowboarding in summer, Europe offers a number of resorts. Now Russia’s North Caucasus is planning to put a new spot on the map, attracting money and expertise from French colleagues.

Northern Caucasus Resorts Company (NCRC) is a state-owned enterprise, created to build five world-class skiing resorts in the Northern Caucasus region. It has already established a joint venture enterprise with the French state-owned group Caisse des Depots. Akhmed Bilalov, NCRC Chairman, believes that advanced French technology will bring North Caucasus resorts to a new level, by giving it world-class excellence. The French company will play the role of strategic consultant to NCRC, providing, in particular, its systems for ropeway engineering and passenger transport.“The Frenchmen know this kind of business well and they are able to deal with it. What is the most attractive to them is a huge inner market with 10-15 million citizens, our potential consumers,” Mr Bilalov notes.Caisse des Depots has already invested $13.5 million. In future it is going to raise its investments into ski facilities and other infrastructure objects to the level of $1 billion. The state is set to add $2 billon and private investors will bring $15 billion more. Due to tax benefits, these investments will be recouped quicker than they would be in Europe. According to Bilalov, it will take only five to10 years. Plus the project will spawn 20,000 additional local jobs.