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15 Jun, 2007 04:16

Russian IT Mutual Fund goes public

The Finam Investment Company has made its Information Technology Mutual Fund public by offering its shares through the Micex stock exchange. The venture fund established last year gives investors a chance to buy into Russia’s innovation sector.

The basic asset of the fund is 68% of the web-dating service MAMBA. Among others are producers of computer games and new search tools for the Internet. The  fund’s assets amount to almost $US 40 MLN. Over the past year, their value has grown by over 90%.

“We are very careful about the companies we invest in. Our main concern is their level of yield. We help to manage the companies – we are on the boards, we know the situation from inside and we feel a great responsibility towards them,” says Viktor Remsha, Finam Managing Director.

The first 10 minutes proved the fund does attract investors. The Russia IT and communication market is growing by nearly 30% annually and has now reached $US 40 BLN in volume.

“The sector has colossal potential. According to our forecasts, the share of software products that is exported was supposed to be about 40%, but it’s actually doubled to 80%. And there is another significant change in the sector. Before, foreign companies invited our IT specialists to work abroad, now more and more western firms invest in Russian IT companies,” claims Leonid Reiman, IT and Communications Minister.

Analysts say the growing number of Internet users is driving the boom. Now 27 million Russians are online, which is nearing the European level of Internet penetration.

Finam is the first of several venture funds due to launch an IPO on the Russian market. And that is good news for investors, companies and the liquidity of the innovation and growth sector.