President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Chubais, what can you tell us about your company’s performance last year? It was established in 2007, am I right?
Board Chairman of Rusnano Management Company Anatoly Chubais: Yes, in 2007.
Vladimir Putin: But you started your investment activities in 2008–2009, didn’t you?
Anatoly Chubais: Yes, in the 2008–2009 period or a year after the company was set up.
Vladimir Putin: And since then the accumulated investment value has reached some 216 billion rubles?
Anatoly Chubais: Yes.
Vladimir Putin: You focus on 12 sectors, right?
Anatoly Chubais: Exactly.
Our investment is focused on the real economy sector. Indeed, our active work spans a period of approximately 10 years. We are now reviewing our performance for last year and over the decade as a whole.
When the company was established 10 years ago, you approved the allocation of 130 billion rubles to us. It was our start-up capital.
Mr President, the first and most important result of our work is that the plants, which were built with our funding, have paid 132 billion rubles into the federal budget. This means that the government’s spending has been reimbursed.
These funds have not come out of the blue. They have been produced by the plants we built, 97 plants in all. Some of them are small and others are medium-sized. You attended the launch of one of them in Chelyabinsk. However, big or small, all of these plants are effective and have 39,000 workers.
It is even more important that these facilities are investing in science. They have already invested 42 billion rubles. It was not Rusnano that invested these funds: it would be strange if we invested the funds we received from the budget.
These funds have been invested by the plants, which cannot develop without investing in science. As you know, the state budget contributes a relatively large amount to science, but businesses are not investing enough.
We are proud that our science-intensive plants are investing considerable funds in science. Moreover, investment into science is increasing.
Vladimir Putin: You operate in 37 regions, don’t you?
Anatoly Chubais: Yes, we operate in 37 regions.
This is our socio-economic performance, but our auditors are to provide us with official financial results for 2018, which are also positive.
Net profits totalled 5.6 billion rubles, an all-time high for the company. As a result, these profits enable us to pay dividends to the state. Taking into account our profit volumes, we are ready to channel about 550 million rubles’ worth of dividends into the budget.
This is possible because well-established businesses are cost-effective. We are already moving past this stage, and the first investment cycle is ending. These ten years implied that we had chosen a project, invested in it, built a plant with production facilities and launched production. After that, we sell our share and recoup investment expenses.
Regarding the 50-plus projects from which we have withdrawn, their profitability is just over 16 percent. On the whole, this indicator is considered…
Vladimir Putin: Good.
Anatoly Chubais: Befitting and good.
Mr President, I would like to say a few words about specific newly-built industries and clusters inside the 12 sectors mentioned by you and to cite three-four examples.
Medicine, nuclear medicine, to be more exact, is one of them. This includes positron-emission tomography; we became the first to launch this project in Russia some seven-eight years ago. Basically, this was in part a wise choice, and we were also lucky, to some extent: it turned out to be a sort of cancer diagnostics ‘golden standard’.
Speaking of oncological diseases, their study is a matter of life and death and patients diagnosed with cancer in its early stages have much better chances of survival than patients with fourth-stage cancer do.
This investment allowed us to build nuclear medicine centres in 11 regions and they have already diagnosed over 100,000 patients.
Vladimir Putin: In ten regions.
Anatoly Chubais: Yes, ten regions and 11 cities. It is very important that most of them are covered by the Compulsory Medical Insurance Fund. In effect, people are examined free of charge; if, God forbid, they are diagnosed with a serious health disorder, at least this diagnosis is timely.
We are already moving from diagnostics to surgery. We have installed the first so-called cyber-knife system in Ufa. This system performs non-invasive surgery, bloodlessly removing painful tumors without any serious complications, etc.
Generally, we believe nuclear medicine to be an important social area for us. The Healthcare Ministry understands and supports us, too. We are planning to extend to other regions afterwards.
Another direction that I have told you about, that we spoke about once is renewable energy. It was created in our country from scratch.
I believe that the government built an absolutely proper, reasonable system for supporting this industry. Everything was organised in a way that not only supported power generation, but also regulated industrial localisation.
Accordingly, this resulted in the emergence of not only the power industry proper but also the wind and solar power industries, as well as the waste management industry, which I know you focus on a lot. It also resulted in the emergence of a manufacturing sector supplying all these industries with equipment. Last year alone, we built a tower production plant in Taganrog, a wind turbine nacelle plant in Nizhny Novgorod and a wind turbine blade plant in Ulyanovsk. Today, their production of equipment for the Russian wind power engineering industry is well underway.
The development of industry is followed by the development of science – because, once again, none of these industries can exist without the perfecting of the relevant technology. This is also followed by the development of education: today, a total of six Russian universities already have renewable energy departments. All of this forms a whole cluster that includes power generation, industry, education and science.
Vladimir Putin: What about the solar lanterns that you once told me about? Is that project underway?
Anatoly Chubais: Well underway, it is a very successful project. Those solar panels of ours have recently been certified; they were one of the top 3 most efficient solar panels in the world, with 22.7 percent power efficiency. Last year – and this is very important for us – for the first time ever, they were exported to Kazakhstan. We won a large tender, and now, apart from implementing this technology in Russia, we are expanding beyond our country’s borders as high technology suppliers.
Vladimir Putin: Is Viktor Vekselberg working independently from you?
Anatoly Chubais: No, it is a joint project of ours. We have already sold our share since it reached cost recovery levels. The project continues to develop. We still have the loan, but have already exited and are planning to invest the money in the next development area.
There are two other examples. You have asked businesses to address the issue of natural gas fuel supplies. Together with Gazprom, we plan to establish a fund. Hopefully, we will manage to do this before long and, for a start, we have developed projects for Belgorod and Rostov regions. We are also working on large projects to build petrol stations and plants.
Vladimir Putin: These are the most costly things to do, as a matter of fact. But after this phase is completed, the competitiveness of the whole complex will dramatically increase.
Anatoly Chubais: Yes, clearly, this project addresses economic and environmental issues, so it is quite a sensible thing to do. It only needs a slight push to get it off the ground, something we plan to do jointly with Gazprom.
Mr President, at one of our meetings you instructed me to get more actively involved in venture projects to develop the nanoindustry in the Far East.
Together with our colleagues and with support from Mr Trutnev [Deputy Prime Minister and Presidential Plenipotentiary Envoy to the Far Eastern Federal District], we have established the Far Eastern High Technology Fund, which was registered last year. Now we are selecting projects.
In the second quarter of this year, we plan to start funding venture projects in the Far East, naturally, in cooperation with the Far Eastern Federal University and other local universities. We believe this is also an important area of our work.
Allow me to cite one more example – the last one: electric vehicles. We believe the natural gas fuel issues should go hand in hand with electrification plans. In this sense, we are the only ones engaged in this work.
We have built the only plant in the country that manufactures the lithium-ion batteries that enable this technology to work. We are happy that our batteries are being used. St Petersburg was the first to start using them.
These batteries are primarily used in so-called long-travel trolleybuses when a trolley-bus route has to be extended. There is no need to build traction substations and create the entire infrastructure – trolley busses only need to be equipped with these batteries. Alternatively, electric buses running on Russian batteries are gaining in popularity.
Vladimir Putin: You have gotten as far as Argentina, haven’t you?
Anatoly Chubais: Yes, we have. We are exporting them, in small amounts, but we take pride in it. We have started exporting small quantities of batteries to Latin America and we are looking forward to creating a cluster in that area.
Vladimir Putin: Good.