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Battle-Hardened Investors give their View on the Russian Market
The meetings took place in France (February 23, Paris), USA (12-14 March, New York), UK (12 April, London), Germany (15 May, Munich) and Russia (22 May, Moscow).
- Innovative technologies are the most attractive industry sector in Russia for foreign investors.
- Russian manufacturing and industry interest investors much more than investments in land and property.
- Foreign investors in Russia tend to invest relatively small capital (less than 1 million euros) in several projects and get returns within one to two years.
- The most popular form of investment project in Russia is a joint venture with a Russian co-investor or the “receiver of the investment”.
- Despite difficulties, Moscow remains the most attractive region for investment.
- Within the hierarchy of investment risks in Russia, investors continue to worry most about tax and administrative risks.
These were the main conclusions reached by Russian consulting group Gradient Alfa, which were based on surveys among businessmen and investors who participated at meetings held by the company in the first half of 2012. The meetings took place in France (February 23, Paris), USA (12-14 March, New York), UK (12 April, London), Germany (15 May, Munich) and Russia (22 May, Moscow).
Chairman of the Board of Directors of Gradient Alpha, Pavel Gagarin, said that foreign investors view the Russian market as attractive and promising, although they place it in the "higher risk zone". It is the potential to minimize these risks that determines the attractiveness of investment projects.
"The last thing foreign investors want to invest in is land and property, even in Moscow and the Moscow region; it is incomprehensible and scary for them. By comparison, manufacturing and industry appear a lot more attractive. Despite Russia’s entry into the WTO, the “import replacement”
Surveys conducted by Gradient Alpha show that innovative technology is currently by far the most attractive investment sphere in Russia. This is mainly due to the insignificant level of investment required and the quick returns. Besides, the choice is driven by the high demand from Russian consumers for these products. The good prospects for this market are highlighted by the rapid growth and penetration of traditional and mobile Internet; there has also been a sharp increase in the number of mobile applications.
The next most promising areas for investors are retail and certain sectors of the FMCG market. Network retail is viewed as particularly attractive. Consumption in Russia is very high. Leading national retailers increase revenue by more than 30% annually. According to the Association of Retail Companies, retail networks comprise 38% of the Russian retail sector, with the five largest companies having 10% market share.
Another trend for foreign investors is to invest relatively small sums of capital (less than 1 million euros) in several projects and to get returns within one to two years. The most popular form of investment project is a joint venture with a co-investor or the receiver of the investment. For investors, who would be perfectly capable of financing the whole project, this is a way to diversify risks. It is safer to invest 30% of the available resources in three different projects than to fund 100% of one project.
Despite the fact that Moscow is a difficult city in which to do business, it is still the most attractive investment region. "Investors are afraid to invest in projects located more than 50 kilometres from the capital for the following reason: it can be easier to work in the regions, but that depends entirely on the specific attitude of the authorities’
Another Russian region selected by investors as an attractive area for investment is Tatarstan. In addition to a favourable investment climate, this choice is determined by a simplified procedure for businesses and property registration, the vast territories of the republic and the availability of cheap labour.
Today, foreign investors have a certain perception of investment risks in Russia and their relative importance. In the first place are tax risks, meaning rather a possibility of unfair taxation than a high level of taxes. The second and third places are bureaucratic and administrative risks that might affect the time taken to receive the required permits, constantly changing terms for them and regular changes to the "rules of the game." Fourth place is taken by legal risks. Foreign investors see the legal environment for doing business in Russia as "legal chaos". By this they are referring to discrepancies between federal and local laws, lack of uniformity in law enforcement and the absence of federal laws "On Public-Private Partnership"
For more information, please visit the company web site http://www.gradient-
Gradient Alpha Investments Group
Tel: +7 (495) 740 1264
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Tel: +44 (0) 7538 978986
Gradient Alpha Investments Group has more than 15 years of experience in facilitating investment deals in Russia. Acting as a strategic growth consultant for many Russian companies, the group has conducted hundreds of investment projects, both private and public, in various sectors of the economy. The total amount of investment capital procured through Gradient Alpha has averaged around three billion US dollars per year during the last five years.