Wednesday, 2 May 2007

Macquarie in first Russian joint venture

Financial News

Jason Corcoran in Moscow

30 April 2007

Australian banking group Macquarie will become the first foreign bank to invest in Russian infrastructure in a joint venture with local bank Renaissance Capital.

The groups have approached investors about setting up a multi-billion dollar fund to invest in transport, ports and utilities.

Infrastructure was a central theme of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s final state of the nation address last week as he promised funds to improve his country’s crumbling roads, bridges and airports. Analysts put the total cost of these projects at $25bn (€18bn) over several years.

Neil Harvey, deputy chief executive of Renaissance, declined to comment on the venture but confirmed the Russian bank was working with Macquarie to provide finance for a ring road in St Petersburg. The $3bn western high-speed perimeter motorway is the first public-private partnership project to come to market in Russia. It will link highways to Scandinavia with routes to Kiev and Moscow.

Half the cost will be met by the government’s investment fund and the remainder by private investors and the city budget.

Harvey, who worked for Macquarie for five years in Australia, said: “We have enormous respect for Macquarie and we have a very close relationship with them. We are jointly putting together the finance for the road because they are world leaders in this field.”

A source close to Renaissance confirmed a deal had been reached but added: “There is some tension on the logistics. Macquarie is being very combative about some of the arrangements.”

Macquarie became the first bank to launch a dedicated European infrastructure fund in 2004 and its success has attracted rivals to the sector and pushed up valuations for assets that provide pension fund investors with stable long-term returns.

Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley have raised funds, while Credit Suisse has a joint fund with General Electric that it expects to invest in emerging and developed markets.


Anonymous said...

interesting, the West perimeter road could be just the tip of the iceberg for Macquarie if the Russians don't bugger it up.

Martin, MS

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