President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Chubais, nine years have passed since RUSNANO was established. The company is a solid entity now. What are your latest results?
Chairman of the Executive Board of RUSNANO Anatoly Chubais:You signed the law establishing our corporation 9 years ago. This is ample time for doing some summing up of the results achieved, even on the nanotechnological scale. Let me say a few words about our results. We drew up this map setting out our main results to help visualise the situation.
As you know, our mission was to establish Russia’s nanotechnology industry. Software, programming, the internet and social media are not our area. We work exclusively with the real sector, where production and construction of new facilities are the issues.
To date, we have built 73 plants in 32 different regions. They are all up and running and have created 30,000 jobs. Right from the start, when we drafted our first strategy back in 2008, we set the goal of taking the Russian nano-industry’s output up to 300 billion rubles by 2015. We have reached and even surpassed this target slightly with a result of 341 billion rubles in 2015.
This is significant, all the more so as we are talking here about new products and new technology in materials, coating, medicine, pharmacology, optics, photonics, and electronics. In some cases, we have laid the basis of a whole new sector or sub-sector at least. In other words, things that did not exist here before are now real, functioning, and producing results.
Let me give you the example of nuclear medicine based on positron-emission tomography. We have hit the benchmark in modern diagnostics here, with technology that can diagnose the most serious types of cancer at early and extremely early stages. This is an important achievement in itself because early diagnosis makes treatment a much simpler process and reduces mortality rates, of course.
We now have centres up and running in Bryansk, Lipetsk, Oryol, Ufa, Moscow, and Moscow region. They have already seen tens of thousands of patients and we see that this translates into hundreds of lives saved because people were properly diagnosed in time.
What is also important here is that this kind of technology can go hand in hand with the treatment process because the doctors carry out the necessary treatment and can then see the results, see what has changed or not changed in the body.
Doctors have responded very positively to the technology. We started the project in Ufa, together with Bashkortostan’s regional government. Diagnostics is the main task here, but we have now added the start of treatment as well. The method involves a kind of ‘cyber knife’ and the use of nuclear medicine to operate on complicated tumours. Nuclear medicine can be used not only to diagnose but also to treat illnesses. Of course, this required training the specialists, as we did not have any in this area.
The Healthcare Ministry was of great help here. They approved our roadmap for developing nuclear medicine. We plan to continue developing this system and will expand it to Kaluga Region, Novosibirsk, and Vladivostok, where the first steps have already been made. I think that examples such as this are an important and positive result.
There are failures as well, of course. We had 10 projects that were not completed or did not succeed in launching profitable production. We have gone through bankruptcy, which is a very difficult procedure in some cases. Even so, if you look at our overall portfolio (knowing that the strategy foresaw that the corporation would be loss-making until 2017), in 2014, we made our first profit of 7 billion rubles. In 2015, we doubled this sum, bringing it up to 17 billion rubles. This is significant.
What is important here is not making money in itself. What is important is that we have established a mechanism. You recall no doubt that we received a very large amount of direct state assistance at the beginning, 130 billion. Now, our projects are paying themselves off and bringing returns to the extent that we no longer need to raise the question of budget funding.
We receive income from projects that are running successfully and compensate for losses where they arise. The mechanism is now self-perpetuating in the financial sense and means that with each cycle, new enterprises will be set up and will operate for years to come.
Vladimir Putin: Mr Chubais, how do you view the development of the company and that of the sector in general?
Anatoly Chubais: First, we think that it is very important to take the next step and not just invest our own funds, even if we are getting returns, but also attract new partners.
We need to attract new partners via the mechanism already in use elsewhere around the world today, and which is starting to develop here in Russia too. I am referring to the so-called investment funds, small ones — venture funds, and big ones — private equity funds. These funds make it possible to bring in new partners.
Our initial experience with private partners in China and Russia shows that through their support, we have added slightly more than 14 billion to our own funds and this has made it possible to double investment.
However, this is not enough. We need to aim not for a fifty-fifty split between our private partners and ourselves or for a simple doubling of the figures. We need to aim for a ratio of 40 to 60, 30 to 70 and so on. In other words, we will continue our investment, but if we establish funds with big volumes and broad reach, we will be able to put a far greater amount of money into the nano-industry.
This is a big challenge. It will require us to make many changes in the company itself and to develop and add to our skills, but this is the direction we are taking. Our goal is to attract a total of 150 billion rubles of outside investment into our projects by 2020. This is the task we need to resolve now.
Vladimir Putin: Good.