Tag Archive for Investment

S&P downgrades Russia to junk

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – bne IntelliNews – January 27, 2015) Standard & Poor’s downgraded Russia’s credit rating to junk status late on January 26, a move which precipitated the rouble’s fall by more than 6%. S&P lowered Russia’s credit rating to BB+, one step below investment grade, as renewed fighting in Ukraine raised

Ambassador John F. Tefft Speech to the American Chamber of Commerce in Russia

John Tefft file photo

(US Embassy Moscow – January 20, 2015) Thank you for that introduction, Alex. I am grateful for this opportunity to speak to members of the American Chamber of Commerce in Russia. I am sure you already know them and work closely with them, but let me start by introducing my team. First, there is Deputy

Double trouble – Russia 2014 vs 2008

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – COMMENT: Peter Szopo of Erste Asset Management – January 20, 2015) [Charts here http://www.bne.eu/content/story/comment-double-trouble-russia-2014-vs-2008] History, they say, does not repeat itself – it rhymes. Even if this were true, history’s rhymes are clunky at best. While Russia’s current crisis has obvious parallels with the turmoil in 2008, such as

Legislation proposes regulation of ‘undesirable’ foreign organizations

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Yekaterina Sinelschikova, RBTH – January 16, 2015) A bill that has passed its first reading the Russian State Duma would give the government the right to fine or ban foreign organizations it deems a security threat. Russia is trying to tighten its control over foreign organizations operating in

What a ‘Junk’ Rating Would Mean for Russia

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Howard Amos – January 15, 2015) Russian officials and experts warned Wednesday that an expected decision by Standard and Poor’s to deprive Russia of its investment-grade credit rating could cost the country up to $30 billion and drain more money from an economy that is already entering recession. Major credit

Rating Downgrade Set to Scare More Capital Out of Russia

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Peter Hobson, Alexander Panin – January 12, 2015) Rating agency Fitch on Friday downgraded Russia’s credit rating to one notch above junk status, warning that oil price falls and Western sanctions could contract the country’s economy by 4 percent this year and force the government to pour cash into Russia’s

Kremlin to sell off 19.5% stake in Rosneft in bid to raise funds

File Photo Rosneft and Russian Flags Next to Rosneft Banner

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Alexei Lossan, RBTH- December 9, 2014) Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has signed an order to sell off 19.5 percent of the shares in Russia’s largest oil company, Rosneft. According to experts, this might help the government generate extra cash amid falling oil prices and Western sanctions. However,

Interfax: Kremlin chief of staff “acknowledges” corruption problem

Cropped File Photo of Two Men in Business Suits Shaking Hands and Passing Cash

(Interfax – December 8, 2014) President Vladimir Putin’s chief of staff has spoken about corruption in Russia. In his remarks, reported by Russian Interfax and TASS news agencies on 8 December, Sergey Ivanov said the Russian government “acknowledged” the problem and had been taking “consistent” steps to deal with it. He dismissed a Transparency International

Putin offers Russian business ‘full’ offshore capital amnesty

Hands Opening Envelope Containing Cash

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – bne IntelliNews – December 4, 2014) Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced a complete capital amnesty, allowing businesses to repatriate offshore funds without fear of the consequences. “We need to finally turn the ‘offshore page’ in the history of our economy and country,” Putin told the federal assembly in

Interfax: Russian Investigations Committee drafts measures to slow down capital flight

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Interfax – November 24, 2014) Russian Investigations Committee has prepared its own proposals allowing to “considerably slow down” the capital flight from Russia, the committee’s head Aleksandr Bastrykin has said, as reported by privately-owned news agency Interfax on 24 November. “We are so wealthy and powerful that we will be able to cope with problems

Ukraine Shrugged Off as Russia ETF Swells to Record

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Elena Popina – November 24, 2014) As oil fell into a bear market, the ruble traded at record lows and NATO said President Vladimir Putin is stoking conflict in Ukraine, bets on the biggest exchange-traded fund tracking Russian stocks surged to a record. Demand for shares in the Market Vectors Russia

McDonald’s Moscow Restaurant Reopens After 3-Month Shutdown

File Photo of Russian McDbnald's Crew with U.S. Diplomat

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leslie Patton, Ilya Khrennikov – November 19, 2014) McDonald’s Corp.’s (MCD) largest restaurant in Russia reopened after local officials shuttered the location for three months, an optimistic sign for a company trying to return to business as usual in the country. The outlet, situated in Moscow’s Pushkin Square, resumed business today,

Russia Tightens Control Over Foreign Ownership of Print Media

World Map Showing Continents, Greens, Browns, Ice

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Delphine d’Amora – November 17, 2014) Foreign companies will soon have to seek government permission before buying a more than 25 percent stake in newspapers or magazines in Russia, extending state control in an industry still reeling from legal changes earlier this year, business daily Vedomosti reported late last week.

In Ukraine hope springs eternal

Ukraine Map and Flag

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – CONFERENCE CALL: Ben Aris in Kyiv – October 31, 2014) Two days after a crucial parliamentary election that put the seal on Ukraine’s latest political transformation, SP Advisors, a leading local investment firm, held its first investment conference and invited international investors to Kyiv to debate the Eastern European

Russia Sanctions Update series

Truck at Russian Border Crossing

Paul Backer, an American attorney based in Moscow, recently has offered the following original contributions to the JRL on the subject of sanctions and the response by business and legal counsel. Backer, pbacker@skalalaw.com, is with Skalaw Law, online at skalalaw.com. Part I: Russia sanctions: implementing client sanctions policies – Sept. 26, 2014 Part II: Russian companies’ failures

Putin’s Glamour Deemed Threat to National Security

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – October 17, 2014) In 2009, during his stint as prime minister, President Vladimir Putin flirted with being a columnist at literary magazine Russky Pioner, famous for its ostentatious parties. A vehicle for the literary ambition of the Russian elite, its contributors have also included presidential aide Vladislav

RIA Novosti: Putin Limits Foreign Capital’s Participation in Russian Media: Government

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

MOSCOW, October 15 (RIA Novosti) – Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a law reducing the possible share of foreign stockholders in the Russian media to 20 percent, says the corresponding document published on the Russian government’s official legal information web portal Wednesday. “Unless otherwise stipulated by an international treaty … a Russian legal entity

Interfax: Chief of staff says businessman’s arrest damaging Russia’s investment climate

File Photo of Sergei Ivanov, adapted from defense.gov image

(Interfax – October 15, 2014) Kremlin chief of staff Sergey Ivanov has said that the house arrest of billionaire businessman Vladimir Yevtushenkov is damaging Russia’s investment climate. In an interview with popular pro-Kremlin tabloid Komsomolskaya Pravda, which was quoted by Interfax news agency, Ivanov said that “I agree, this [the arrest of Yevtushenkov] is having

Fears of a Russian credit crunch greatly exaggerated, say analysts

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – October 14, 2014) On paper, Russian companies have huge foreign debts, and no way of refinancing them because sanctions effectively close Western capital markets to Russian borrowers. But with much of Russian corporate foreign debt in fact hidden equity investments from offshore zones, the figures seem much worse than

Russia signs raft of deals with China

China Map

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – October 14, 2014) Russia and China signed a raft of 40 agreements encompassing trade, energy, finance and technology, following a meeting between Russian prime minister Dmitry Medvedev and his Chinese counterpart, Li Keqiang, on October 14 in Moscow. The agreements demonstrate how Russia is looking for other options, after

Kiev Stores Ordered to Stamp Russian Products With Special Markings

Maidan Square file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – October 10, 2014) Kiev’s municipal council has ordered stores in the capital to label Russian-imported goods with additional markings to warn consumers they could be supporting the “aggressor” by buying the products, media reports said. According to the ruling approved by the city’s legislature, Russian made-goods will also have to

Interfax: Capital outflow from Russia might be lower than $100 bilion forecast in 2014 – minister

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

MOSCOW. Oct 9 (Interfax) – Capital outflows from Russia in 2014 could turn out to be less than the official forecast of $100 billion, Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukayev believes. “We haven’t changed the forecast for this year. It is still $100 billion. Our accumulated outflow, I believe, is currently $78 billion for eight months

Will Western Sanctions Stop Russia’s Arctic Oil Expansion?


(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Howard Amos – October 9, 2014) Igor Sechin, the most influential figure in Russia’s energy industry, announced last week that a new oil field discovered in the Arctic was to be christened “Pobeda” – the Russian word for victory. Speaking to reporters from a blustery drilling platform, the Kremlin heavyweight,

The problem with Russia’s investment story is there isn’t one

File Photo of Outdoor Electronic Sign with Russian Exchange Data

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Ben Aris – Moscow, October 2, 2014) Leading Russian investment bank VTB Capital held a slimmed-down version of their annual investment conference on October 1-2. The event, “Russia Calling! 6th Annual VTB Capital Investment Forum” at the World Trade Center Moscow didn’t look cut down from the point of

Poroshenko talks reform with foreign investors

Petro Poroschenko file photo, with additional men in background, adapted from image at state.gov

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – October 3, 2014) Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko reaffirmed to foreign investors that his goal is for Ukraine to ultimately join the European Union, and for this sweeping reforms are necessary. “This involves a significant number of reforms and solving problems. It’s hardly possible to conduct 62 reforms simultaneously, but

Interfax: Expansion of Russian cooperation in China not end of relations with Europe – Putin

China Map

MOSCOW. Oct 2 (Interfax) – Russia has no intention of ending its relations with its traditional partners, including Europe, and expansion of cooperation with China is a global trend, Russian President Vladimir Putin said. “Russia is also thinking about expansion of cooperation with China, and it didn’t begin thinking about it yesterday or due to

Life After Putin: Russia Needs to Be Rebuilt From Scratch

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Sitting at Desk

(Moscow Times editorial – themoscowtimes.com – September 30, 2014) This story begins a series of analytical articles and editorials in The Moscow Times about Russia’s long-term strategic prospects. It is strange to recall in 2014 that back at the beginning of his rule, President Vladimir Putin was hailed as a reformer. His main agenda during

Russia sanctions, implementing client sanctions policies

Truck at Russian Border Crossing

Date: Fri, 26 Sep 2014 From: Paul Backer <contact@skalalaw.com> Subject: Russia sanctions, implementing client sanctions policies Part 1. Russia sanctions, implementing client sanctions policies. Skala Law client update. Sanctions’ impact will worsen through 2015. Failing to understand sanctions’ purpose and enforcement materially and avoidably damages listed and unlisted entities. Lack of a sanctions policy renders

15 Global Firms Hit by Russia’s Law Limiting Foreign Ownership of Media

File Photo of Russian Television Studio

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – September 29, 2014) Russia’s law limiting foreign ownership of media in Russia to 20 percent will overturn the country’s media scene. Foreign companies have been at the forefront of developing media in Russia since the early 1990s. They own stakes in hundreds of newspapers, magazines and television stations. Under the

Curbs on Foreign Ownership Will Gut Russia’s Media

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Delphine d’Amora – September 28, 2014) An era in Russian media ended Friday as parliament passed a law limiting foreign ownership in domestic media assets at 20 percent, hitting some of the world’s largest media companies and turning back the clock on an industry that has thrived on foreign brands

Follow the Money to Putin Inc. to See Why U.S. Struggles With Russia


(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Alan Katz, Jesse Drucker, Irina Reznik – June 25, 2014) To see why U.S. economic sanctions against Russia are likely to have limited impact, follow the spending of a small Delaware-incorporated, Nasdaq-traded television company named CTC Media Inc. (CTCM) While CTC Media has a market capitalization of just $1.7 billion, it’s

Russian stocks rise as Putin backs peaceful resolution of Ukraine crisis

File Photo of Outdoor Electronic Sign with Russian Exchange Data

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Alexei Lossan, RBTH – June 26, 2014) Russian ruble has made rapid gains in value against the dollar and euro following statements made by Vladimir Putin. The Russian president declared his support for a peaceful resolution of the Ukrainian crisis after a meeting in Vienna with Austrian President

Russian stocks hit 5-month high as Putin rescinds right to use military force in Ukraine

File Photo of Outdoor Electronic Sign with Russian Exchange Data

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Ben Aris in Moscow – June 25, 2014) Russian stocks hit a five-month high on June 24 after President Vladimir Putin asked Russia’s upper house of parliament to repeal a law that granted him the right to use military force in Ukraine, as investors speculate the standoff with the

Russian equities – the next leg up faces hurdles

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – COMMENT: Peter Szopo of Erste Asset Management – June 18, 2014) [Charts here http://www.bne.eu/content/comment-russian-equities-next-leg-faces-hurdles] The latest Russian stock rally was strong but short. It started in the last week of April and may have ended already in mid-June, as the situation in Ukraine began deteriorating once more. The main

Russian stocks exiting the darkness – profits should climb as economy recovers

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Business New Europe – bne.ru – UralSib – June 11, 2014) Our year-end RTS target of 1,520 implies 14% upside. Our yearend RTS target now stands at 1,520, implying 14% upside from the current level. Based on our calculations, the dividend yield for the index is currently 4.3%, which would put the total return at

Five Insider Stories From Russia’s Fledgling Start-Up Market

Empty Boardroom

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexander Panin – June 9, 2014) Start-ups, business angels and venture funds – these terms have become part of the Russian language, although just a few years back they were almost completely absent from the local dialect. High-tech business in Russia is expanding rapidly and being part of it is

Russian stocks: Abandon all hope, or time to buy?

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Michael McAtavey, Special to RBTH – June 3, 2014) Russian markets have been pummeled by poor GDP growth and political headwinds. Yet some fund managers say they are finding deals. Sanctions. Conflict in neighboring Ukraine. Sagging economic growth. And let’s not forget capital flight. These are just some

World Bank Approves First Russia Investment Since Crisis

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Sandrine Rastello – June 3, 2014) The World Bank approved an investment in Russia for the first time since President Vladimir Putin annexed Crimea, overriding opposition from Canada and lack of support from the U.S. The International Finance Corp., the lender’s private-sector arm, voted May 29 for parts of a 250

RIA Novosti: Nestle, Mars Could Buy Poroshenko’s Candy Company for $1.5 Bln

Ukraine Map and Flag

MOSCOW, May 28 (RIA Novosti) – Food giants Mars and Nestle have been tipped as favorites to buy Ukraine’s leading chocolate firm Roshen, currently owned by likely president-elect Petro Poroshenko, for as much as $1.5 billion. The candy-maker-turned-politician earlier vowed to sell his biggest asset if elected president, and summoned investment advisors and bankers to

Putin is risking the engine of Russia’s economy

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – COMMENT: Lord Peter Mandelson of Global Counsel – May 27, 2014) Peter Mandelson was European Trade Commissioner between 2004 and 2008. He is now Chairman of Global Counsel Despite Russia’s recent underperformance, the size and potential of its economy has made it an attractive prospect for global companies. From

Welcome to a multipolar world

World Map Showing Continents, Greens, Browns, Ice

(Business New Europe, MOSCOW BLOG – bne.eu – Ben Aris in Moscow – May 19, 2014) The shouting match between west and east continues, but the Russian stock market was surging on May 19, a day before Russian President Vladimir Putin was due to arrive in China, where he is expected to sign a string

Russia is Worst Place for Foreign Investment, Poll Says

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – May 14, 2014) Russia has been cited as worst place to invest among the biggest world economies in light of the conflict in Ukraine, according to foreign investors polled by Bloomberg in their quarterly Global Market Investor’s Poll. Nearly 56 percent of respondents said that Russia was a poor place

BNE: Ukraine investors scatter as civil war approaches

Ukraine Map and Flag

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Ben Aris in Moscow – May 7, 2014) Nathan Rothschild once famously said, “buy on the sound of canons, sell on the sound of trumpets.” However, the few investors that were still looking at Ukraine are fading away as the cycle of violence escalates and the body count rises.

Russia Recession Risk Seen Rising on Sanctions

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Anna Andrianova and Andre Tartar – April 29, 2014) Russia faces a fifty-fifty chance of recession, the highest since Bloomberg started to track the measure, as the crisis in Ukraine raises the risk of further sanctions, according to a survey of economists. The probability of a recession over the next 12

Exxon’s $900 Billion Arctic Prize at Risk After Ukraine

Arctic Satellite Image and Map

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Stephen Bierman – April 29, 2014) Exxon Mobil (XOM) Corp.’s dream of drilling in the Russian Arctic may risk running aground on the politics of Ukraine. The company plans to start drilling in August in the Arctic’s remote Kara Sea — the centerpiece of Exxon’s global alliance with Russian state-controlled OAO

Yandex reacts to Putin comments about foreign influence as share price falls

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Vsevolod Pulya, RBTH – April 28, 2014) The Russian search engine was actually registered in the Netherlands and received its first investments from foreign investors. Nevertheless, it believes that this is “common practice for any internet startup.” Russian search engine Yandex has responded to comments by Russian President

Big Foreign Business Turns Blind Eye to Ukraine Sanctions

Truck at Russian Border Crossing

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Peter Hobson – ALABUGA, Tatarstan, April 28, 2014) As Western politicians huffed and puffed about slapping additional sanctions on Russia, captains of big global business in the country showed no jitters as they met with top Russian officials Friday. Moreover, the only person to mention Russia’s clash with the West

Interfax: Foreign investors not put off by Western sanctions – Russian deputy PM

Igor Shuvalov file photo

(Interfax – Vladivostok, April 26, 2014) Many foreign investors that have long been working in Russia are not planning to leave the country and intend to make new investments in the Russian Federation despite Western sanctions, First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov has said. “These are investors who have been working in Russia for many

Most Russians Support McDonald’s Closures, Poll Says

File Photo of Russian McDbnald's Crew with U.S. Diplomat

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – April 15, 2014) Liberal Democrat Party leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky’s call to close all McDonald’s restaurants in Russia received a lot of media attention, and a recent poll shows that most Russians would be glad to see the back of the fast food chain. Sixty-two percent of respondents support the closure

Burger King Expands Into Crimea After McDonald’s Exit

File Photo of Russian McDbnald's Crew with U.S. Diplomat

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Peter Hobson – April 10, 2014) U.S. fast food giant Burger King plans to expand its chain into Crimea, filling the vacuum left when McDonald’s pulled out of the peninsula last Friday, citing unspecified supply issues. Burger King currently has no outlets in Crimea, which has been at the center

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