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Today in Russian Business – Sept 19, 2011

Following the Yak-42 crash which decimated the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl hockey team, national development bank VEB has expressed the desire to create a new regional airline, possibly in collaboration with Italy and France.  At the 10th annual International Investment Forum in Sochi, Vladimir Putin ‘fell short of breaking new ground regarding ways to improve the country’s unfavorable investment climate’ says Russia Profile.  The Prime Minister warned attendees that U.S. and European economies are on the verge of recession, but added that Russia’s inflation would be unlikely to exceed 7% this year, the lowest since 1991.  Over the course of the two-day forum, its participants apparently signed 289 agreements worth about 429 billion rubles.  Russia’s new private-equity fund has sought to reassure international investors by appointing an advisory board which includes Lou Jiwei, chairman of China Investment Corp., and Blackstone Group LP  Chief Executive Officer Stephen Schwarzman.  ‘While many people think about Russia in a negative way, we have really a who’s who from the investment community joining our advisory board,’ says Kirill Dmitriev, the fund’s manager.  French and international investors, led by Caisse des Depots et Consignations, plan to invest about $1 billion in the development of five ski resorts in the North Caucasus.  General Electric has formed two new joint ventures in Russia, in energy and health care, which could apparently generate $10 billion to $15 billion in new revenue over the next few years.  Japanese automaker Honda reportedly has plans to set up its first assembly plant in Russia.